The Alleged Attempted Assassination Plot Against Prime Minister Kurti in Skopje gets debunked

Published on:

During his visit to Skopje, reports surfaced of unconfirmed life threats to Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, which were later refuted by North Macedonian authorities.

On February 10, 2024, Kosovo’s Radiotelevision (RTK)published an article titled “Details of Serbian Plan for Assassination Attempt against Kurti in Skopje.” Citing reliable sources from security institutions in Kosovo, RTK reported that immediately after the United Nations Security Council meeting discussing the new regulation banning the use of the Serbian dinar, they obtained information indicating that the source of the attempted assassination of Kosovo’s Prime Minister originated from Serbia. According to RTK, there were groups observed in Skopje moving towards the perimeter where Kurti was staying. The attack was linked to an article in Serbian media accusing opposition leader Dragan Gjilas of planning to meet Kurti. RTK had promised to update the news with additional information but failed to do so. Instead, RTK removed the article from its platform. However, it continues to be accessible in other media outlets that shared the same article. This article was also disseminated by: “BalkanWeb” , “Java News”, “EuroNews”, “”, “”, “”, “”.

Photo: RTK

Kurti visited North Macedonia on February 9, 2023, as part of a regional meeting with leaders of sister parties of the Party of European Socialists, organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Foundation. Media outlets in North Macedonia reported that Kurti would be a panelist at a conference titled “Progressive Policies – Responses to Challenges in Western Balkan Countries,” among the participants was also the leader of the Party for Freedom and Justice, Dragan Gjilas. RTK claimed that a Serbian media article, preceding the alleged Serbian terrorist plot, accused the Serbian opposition leader Dragan Gjilas of planning to meet Kurti. During this gathering, Kurti mentioned seeing a large police presence in Skopje following reports of an assassination attempt against him.

Prime Minister Kurti also addressed the threat, discussing the threats he has received in general

“I have learned that there are many threats from individuals and structures rooted in official Belgrade. When I came from Skopje, I didn’t feel endangered, but I saw that there were many police forces taking care of this meeting we held, where the special guest was the representative of the German SPD, Lars Klingbeil,” said Kurti on February 10, 2024.

However, the Ministry of Interior of North Macedonia. refuted the claim published in Kosovar media. “We inform you that during the visit of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, to Skopje, there were no assassination attempts towards him. As for the security during Prime Minister Kurti’s visit, it was organized according to pre-established rules and security assessments,” it is said in the Ministry of Interior of North Macedonia statement. Even the official of this ministry, Toni Angellovski, stated that there was no attempt to assassinate Albin Kurti in Skopje.

The publication of such news, which is not based on facts and contradicts the basic rules of journalism, sparked numerous reactions.

Media expert Flutura Kusari stated that “the news does not fulfill any of the basic elements of journalism nor ethical and legal principles.” There were also reactions from opposition parties, PDK and AAK, expressing doubts about the published news, considering the fact that it was refuted by the host state of Prime Minister Kurti within hours.

The information from Kosovo media, detailing an alleged assassination attempt, received extensive coverage in North Macedonia.

Over 30 media outlets in North Macedonia reported on the incident, including a statement from the Ministry of Interior clarifying that it was not an assassination attempt.

However, some media outlets in North Macedonia opted for sensationalistic headlines, claiming that “Serbia is attempting to assassinate the prime minister of Kosovo,” without including the denial and accurate information provided by the Ministry of Interior.

The Prime Minister of the technical government, Talat Xhaferi, shared his comments on the case and discussed its implications for Kosovo’s institutions.

‘’In the final instance, my assessment is that with that statement more damage was done to the Kosovo Information Agency itself, because in the future who would engage in an exchange of information, if that information will be placed through the medium of public information, as they were. The communication methodology of those institutions is properly prescribed by appropriate laws and it went beyond what is normal in communication and in the exchange of information ‘’ said Talat on February 14, 2024.

In relation to this, the largest parliamentary opposition party, VMRO-DPMNE, criticized the government specifically SDSM for spinning the whole situation (event) with Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti.

Aleksandar Nikoloski, vice president of VMRO-DPMNE in the show “Sleep if you can” on Alfa television also commented on Kurti’s visit.

‘’When he was in Skopje, information came out that there was an assassination attempt. It is completely incorrect information, the Ministry of the Interior denied it. But it is an agreed spin between SDSM and the government of Kosovo in order to defocus from the problems in Macedonia and raise the rating of the government of Kosovo. I repeat, this is an agreed spin which, unfortunately for them, was quickly exposed’’ said Nikolovski on on February 13, 2024

Information about threats to politicians has been previously shared. Earlier this year, official authorities announced that there were threats against opposition leaders in Kosovo. On January 23, 2023, the Kosovo Police reported that the target of a possible assassination was the leader of the LDK, Lumir Abdixhiku, and three other deputies of this party – Avdullah Hoti, Armend Zemaj, and Arben Gashi. According to the information released by the Police, the source of the threat was from a group of Albanians living in the diaspora. They were intercepted by the German Police, discussing several political assassinations in Kosovo. Memli Krasniqi and Lumir Abdixhiku were placed under the protection of the Police’s Close Protection Unit.

This joint article by Sbunker and Metamorphosis  is published within Western Balkans Regional Initiative against disinformation.