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Balkan developments

Greek and Turkish ships exchange air shots in the Aegean Sea

The crew of a Greek Coast Guard cutter fired warning shots on January 5 to deter a Turkish Coast Guard vessel that tried to ram it, authorities in Athens said, BTA reports. The Turkish coastguard said its crew returned fire in the air and the Greek vessel was chased away. A statement from the Greek coast guard said that after the shooting, "the Turkish coast guard boat withdrew'' to the Turkish coast. 

There were no reports of casualties or damage from either side. 

The shooting east of the Greek islet of Farmakonisi, which is situation opposite the Turkish resort of Didim, was reached after the Greek coast guard blocked the way of Turkish fishing boats. 

Turkey and Greece dispute territorial waters and rights off the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.‎

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti grants permission to Serbian Patriarch to visit Pec

After the removal of Serbian barricades in northern Kosovo, the government in Pristina allowed Serbian Patriarch Porfirije to visit Kosovo as part of preparations for the celebration of the Orthodox Christmas, which Serbs celebrate according to the Julian calendar on January 7, TANJUG reported. In December, the Kosovo authorities did not allow Porfirije to visit the historic church and monastery of the Pec Patriarchate in the Kosovo city of Pec. 

The so-called Pec Patriarchate was established in 1555 by three Serbian janissaries who rose to become viziers under Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. It was closed by the Ottomans in 1766. During its existence, the Patriarch of Pec was called "Father and Teacher of the Serbs and Bulgarians", because the Patriarchate also included significant Bulgarian eparchies in its diocese.‎

North Macedonia is the chairman of the OSCE in 2023

From January 1, the Republic of North Macedonia assumed the presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In 2023, Skopje will lead the largest regional security organization with 57 member states and 11 Mediterranean and Asian partner countries. 

A challenge for the Macedonian presidency will be the role of the OSCE in solving the security crisis after the Russian aggression in Ukraine, reported the state agency MIA. 

Upon assuming the presidency, Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani emphasized that Russian aggression grossly violates the UN Charter, the main provisions of international law and, above all, the values of humanity. Osmani announced that his first visit as chairman of the OSCE will be in Kyiv.

Albania already has two satellites in orbit

The satellites "Albania 1" and "Albania 2" were launched into orbit with the help of the Falcon 9 rocket, which was launched from Florida in the United States, ATA reported. "Albania has more high-tech capabilities to control, protect and administer its territory, providing real-time important data on a series of aspects key to the country's sustainable development," Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote on social media. 

The "Albania 1" and "Albania 2" satellites will exercise full control over the territory of the country, announced the National Agency for Civil Protection. According to the contract with the operator ‎Satellogic USA Inc. satellite services will be used for a period of 3 years. ‎

Timisoara is the European Capital of Culture

The city of Timisoara in Romania will be the European Capital of Culture. The official start will be on February 17 with 50 open-air concerts, exhibitions, film premieres and theatre productions, inform the organizers on their official website. 

2,500 artists will join the program in 2023. Among the special guests will be the literary Nobel laureates Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk and Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, Hungarian violinist Lajko Felix, the National Orchestra of France. 

The Romanian authorities will organize new external flights to attract more tourists to the city. It is expected that, as in Sibiu in 2007, which was also the European Capital of Culture, they will be around 1 million. 

Timisoara in Romania, Elefsina in Greece and Veszprém in Hungary are the European Capitals of Culture for 2023.

Photos: greekreporter.com, euronews.rs, nezavisen.mk, a2news.com, urlaub.de

Compiled by Ivo Ivanov

Edited by Miglena Ivanova

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