Bosnian Leader Alija Izetbegovic: From Prisoner to President | Al Jazeera World

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  • After Yugoslavia fell apart in the early 1990s and descended into a bitter regional conflict, Alija Izetbegovic fought for the survival of his country and people.

    The first president of the independent Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Izetbegovic was no stranger to controversy and had served five years of a 14-year prison sentence in the 1980s.

    This two-part documentary series uses interviews with members of his family and major regional figures as well as archive footage and reconstruction to tell the chequered history of this part of the Balkans through Izetbegovic’s eyes.

    In This Story: Balkans

    The Balkans , also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian–Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast. The Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea in the northwest, the Ionian Sea in the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south, the Turkish Straits in the east, and the Black Sea in the northeast. The term has acquired a stigmatized and pejorative meaning related to the process of Balkanization, and hence the preferred alternative term used for the region is Southeast Europe.

    Entirely within the Balkan Peninsula: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia.

    Mostly or partially within the Balkan Peninsula: Croatia, Greece, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey.

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  • In This Story: Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Bosnia and Herzegovina, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in South and Southeast Europe, located within the Balkans. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina is bordered by Serbia to the east, Montenegro to the southeast, and Croatia to the north and southwest. It is not entirely landlocked; to the south it has a narrow coast on the Adriatic Sea, which is about 20 kilometres (12 miles) long and surrounds the town of Neum.

    The inland Bosnia region has a moderate continental climate, with hot summers and cold, snowy winters. In the central and eastern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest moderately hilly, and in the northeast predominantly flatland. The smaller southern region, Herzegovina, has a Mediterranean climate and mostly mountainous topography.

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