STATE DEPARTMENT RECOMMENDS AND GRANTS
AGREEMENT ON QUESTIONABLE BOSNIAN AMBASSADOR APPOINTMENT
Congressional Record (House); Pg. H4712 - June 17, 2005
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Marchant). Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Franks) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. Mr. Speaker, in April of this year, my office expressed a deep and sincere concern to the State Department over agreeing to the designation of Bisera Turkovic as the new Bosnian Ambassador to the United States. At that time, State was postured to recommend an agreement on this appointment.
After several discussions, the State Department asked me not to go public with my concerns because there was a pending deal with the Bosnian government to send Bosnian troops to Iraq in July. In good faith, Mr. Speaker, my office agreed not to publicly raise our very grave and sincere concerns.
But, Mr. Speaker, our office was surprised and profoundly disappointed when we learned this past Wednesday, after literally months, that the State Department had granted agreement on this outrageous appointment without contacting us or informing us in any way.
Mr. Speaker, President Bush has repeatedly and strongly stated that in this fight against terrorism, that you are "either with us or you are against us." Yet, I am beginning to wonder if our own State Department is with us.
Bisera Turkovic is one of the founders of the radical Islamist Muslim SDA Party in Bosnia, a party that has had, since its foundation, strong links with al Qaeda, numerous other terrorist organizations, and even the intelligence mechanisms of Iran.
In 1939, Bisera Turkovic's father, Alija Izetbegovic, started a group called the Young Muslims. After World War II, they were prosecuted as Nazi war criminals and spent time in prison together. Over the years, Dr. Turkovic was promoted by Izetbegovic and then founded the SDA Party in 1990.
Alija Izetbegovic was a close confidante of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. And when he became President Izetbegovic, he recirculated his 1970 Islamic Declaration and openly espoused his view that "there can be no peace or coexistence between Islamic faith and non-Islamic
Mr. Speaker, soon after the beginning of the Bosnian civil war in 1992, Dr. Turkovic was accredited as Bosnian ambassador to Zagreb. It was this post, coordinating with others, that was constantly used by the SDA and their leadership to provide Bosnian passports, visas, humanitarian worker status, and logistical support to radical Islamist mujahideen coming into Bosnia to fight their own jihad there. Individuals such as Anwar Sha'ban, the spiritual leader of al Qaeda in Bosnia and the cousin of Osama bin Laden, Abu al-Madani, who was killed fighting soldiers in Sarajevo, and even Osama bin Laden himself entered Bosnia through Zagreb.
In violation of a U.S. embargo, the SDA also organized a massive flow of weapons from Iran through Croatia during Bisera Turkovic's time as ambassador.
When my office raised these concerns, Mr. Speaker, we were told that the actions during the war were Bosnian government policy at that time and that it was a long time ago. But, Mr. Speaker, can it possibly be the position of our State Department that despite the fact that we know that Iranian weapons were smuggled into Bosnia in contradiction to a U.N. embargo, and that foreign mujahideen were given documentation to enter Bosnia to fight a jihad, often fronting as humanitarian workers, that that is not enough evidence to deny diplomatic status to someone who was centrally involved and who remains a senior level official for the party that instituted these very policies?
My office has also raised issues of concern with regard to Bisera Turkovic's ethical fitness, Mr. Speaker; and the State Department has said that "we can't deny appointees on the basis of being corrupt."
Mr. Speaker, these actions on the part of our State Department are a disservice to our President, they are a disgrace to the United States of America, and they are a betrayal to the cause of human freedom. It is past time that the State Department start acting like it represents the interests of America and the citizens of this Nation. The people of this Nation deserve better than to be served by a State Department that aids our enemies and then lies to cover its actions.
[Congressional Record: June 17, 2005 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]