Balkan developments

Opposition wins rerun of elections for Istanbul mayor

Photo: EPA / BGNES

Turkish President Recep Erdogan suffered a stinging defeat after the candidate of the opposition Republican People's Party Ekrem Imamoglu won the rerun of the elections for mayor of Istanbul. This time he grabbed around 54 percent of the votes, as against 45 percent for the candidate supported by Erdogan - Binali Yıldırım. Political observers are commenting that this is more than a local elections victory. Erdogan himself has repeatedly said that “whoever wins Istanbul, wins Turkey”.

Turkey remains country with biggest number of refugees in the world

Photo: EPA / BGNES

For a fifth yea, Turkey is top of the list of countries with the biggest number of incoming refugees fleeing war or persecution, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency says. According to Turkey’s Interior Ministry there are 4.9 million refugees on its territory. Ankara says it has spent USD 40 billion so far to cope with the crisis but has received only 6 billion in aid from abroad. Pakistan, Uganda, Sudan and Germany are next on the list of countries with the biggest number of refugees.

Tsipras: Macedonia has fulfilled the criteria for negotiations with EU


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a televised interview, that the postponement of EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia is not over failure to fulfill the reforms demanded, but most of all for procedural reasons. In Tsipras’ words the leaders of the EU countries are unanimous that the process of accession will begin in October as North Macedonia has fulfilled all necessary criteria and reforms.

Skopje: Without negotiations with EU North Macedonia has no European perspective

Photo: picture alliance / abaca

Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov cautioned, at a ministerial conference on the Western Balkans in Stockholm, that if North Macedonia does not open accession negotiations this year this would mean it has no European perspective after everything it has achieved over the past two years. Meanwhile President Stevo Pendarovski said he was optimistic about the autumn, and expected the EU to go back to the question of opening negotiations with North Macedonia no later than October this year.

Pristina fears a dangerous turn in relations with Belgrade

Photo: EPA / BGNES

The President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi stated that unless a legally binding agreement is reached between Kosovo and Serbia this year, the relations between the two countries will enter a danger zone and will lead to destabilization in the region. The President stressed that the current situation and latest events are by no means optimistic and that things are not moving in a positive direction.

Compiled by: Stoimen Pavlov

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