Croatian Culture Minister Zlatko Hasenbegovic has said in an interview with the Italian daily Il Piccolo that accusations against him that he is trying to revise history are part of a defamation campaign which is not based on facts, adding that he does not plan to resign as minister.
"This is a defamation campaign which is not based on a single fact. I have already explained that the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was the biggest moral failure of this country. I have condemned its regime and its crimes," Hasenbegovic said when asked how come that, ever since his appointment, he was being accused of being a revisionist and a philo-Ustasha.
Hasenbegovic expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that for the first time the Jewish community this year boycotted the official commemoration in the WWII Jasenovac concentration camp, saying that this was a matter of leaders of the Jewish community "who made political decisions" because "the government wanted a commemoration free of political speeches, which does not suit some people."
Hasenbegovic also said that "there was some manipulation with the number of the concentration camp victims and the number has been enlarged a number of times." "One could not speak of it during the Yugoslav regime, but now we must deal with this topic," Hasenbegovic said.
Asked if he is prepared to resign for the good of the country, after a European diplomat in Zagreb recently said that it will be difficult to cooperate with the Culture Ministry with Hasenbegovic at its helm, the minister said: "I have no intention to resign. I was not appointed by a foreign ambassador and I answer only to parliament and the Croatian people. Even more so, several ambassadors have expressed solidarity with me and I have already signed bilateral agreements wit Kosovo, Albania, Hungary, China and I am about to sign one with the Czech Republic."