Balkan Developments

Hashim Thaçi threatens with resignation and polls

Photo: BGNESPresident of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi declared that he would resign and induce early elections, if the MPs don’t approve legislative changes for strengthening the country’s security forces. The government has ordered the latter’s turning into a regular army, but MPs of the Serbian minority have been blocking the constitutional changes necessary. Thaçi reasoned his statement with Serbia’s military enhancement, using Russian assistance. However, not only Belgrade, but also Kosovo’s allies from NATO and the USA have opposed the plan. Washington’s warning made Isa Mustafa, a person from the premier’s own party to warn him that the USA was very important for Kosovo, while Hashim Thaçi could be easily replaced.

Tension between Greece and Turkey undermines NATO

Photo: BGNESUS Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Jonathan Cohen stated that the government was working on the avoidance of a conflict between Greece and Turkey. According to Mr. Cohen, an eventual war between the two countries is not in NATO’s interest. The diplomat tackled with Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council Endy Zemenides the level of tension between Greece and Turkey across the Aegean Sea and in Cyprus, pointing at the importance of the US marine base on Crete.

Russia & Turkey cooperation getting more active

Photo: BGNESThe cooperation between the Russian Federation and Turkey on the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline and the Akkuyu NPP has been developing more and more actively, President Recep Erdogan stated after a close meeting with his Russian counterpart Putin in Moscow. In the words of the Turkish leader, nowadays the defense and energy industries are the main elements of cooperation between the two states. Erdogan said he planned to tackle these and a series of other issues during the Moscow-held negotiations.

Remains of 13 Serbs exhumed in Croatia

Photo: kurir.rsLocal authorities of the Shash village in the area of the Eastern town of Sunia have exhumed the remains of 13 Serbs, victims of the 1995 Storm operation when the Croatian forces recovered territories, previously taken by Serbian separatists. Preliminary data shows that three of the bodies were female ones, nine were men and one was unidentifiable. The Storm operation is celebrated by Croatia as a victory day while Serbia says it is a military crime, resulting in the deportation of most Serbs from the country.

Ankara violates human rights, UN says

Photo: BGNESAround 2,000 people were killed and whole neighborhoods destroyed in the southeastern part of Turkey over a period of 18 months when governmental security forces had operations in the area, the UN reports. Its report, covering the July 2015 – December 2016 timeframe reads that some 500,000 people, mainly Kurds were displaced back then, while satellite photos showed ‘large-scale demolition’. The document tackles murders, missing people and tortures, as well as other serious violations of human rights.

EUR 30 mln. for Macedonia and Serbia on refugee crisis

Photo: BGNESThe EU has adopted an additional package of EUR 30 mln. for coping with the consequences of the refugee crisis across the West Balkans. Serbia, Macedonia and other countries from the region have to use the funding for accommodation of the migrants, for providing services to them, as well as for support of the receiving communities. Besides that the package will improve border and refugee flow management in the region. Serbia and Macedonia have received over EUR 59 mln. from the EU since the start of the refugee crisis in 2015.

Compiled by: Atanas Tsenov

English version: Zhivko Stanchev 

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