zlatko hasanbegovic.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Nikša MILETIĆ / mm

The French newspaper Liberation on Monday published an open letter as part of a petition calling for the replacement of Croatian Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic.

The letter says he is a revisionist historian and sympathiser of the Ustasha regime and that because of that Croatia does not abide by the fundamental values of the European Union.

"Zlatko Hasanbegovic is using the post-war totalitarian violence to discredit the fight against fascism which he perfidiously mixes with communist crimes, which is a distortion of the truth. In his speeches and publications, he brings into question historical truths and the basic values of our political union. He was not chosen for his competencies in the field of culture but to promote the ideology he stands for," the letter says.

The letter details his controversial statements and moves before and after becoming minister, saying that one of his first steps upon taking office was to abolish the Non-Profit Media Commission, after which he got rid of unsympathetic Croatian Radio-Television journalists, and that he exposed members of the Electronic Media Council to growing pressure, disregarding the concern expressed by many organisations, including the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

"Because of all that, we are calling for joint action because there is no room in Europe and Croatia for an ideology based on the revisionism he stands for. This isn't about an opinion or political sensibility, but an expression of our attachment to the basic values in the foundations of the European project," the letter says.

Among the many who signed it are Italian Marxist theoretician Antonio Negri, Bosnian Oscar winning director Danis Tanovic, Berkeley professor Judith Butler, conservative French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, Italian Nobel winner for literature Dario Fo, former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, former Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, European activists Etienne Balibar and Chantal Mouffe, French activists and Nazi hunters Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, Croatian actress Ursa Raukar and Croatian human rights activist Mario Mazic.

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