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Balkan Developments

Turkish-made fighter jet conducts its first flight

Turkey's fifth-generation KAAN fighter jet has successfully completed its first flight, TRT Haber state television showed. The first flight of the jet was planned for the end of 2023, but it was postponed due to the need for additional ground tests. The plane, which is one of the most important projects for the defense of the country, took off from the Mürted Airfield near Ankara and landed after a short flight. The machine has a maximum speed of Mach 1.8. It should replace the aging fleet of F-16s of the Turkish military in the future. Serial production is scheduled to start in 2028. Turkey has made a very important step towards producing its own fifth-generation fighter jet, President Erdogan said.

Government in North Macedonia wants to ban new construction projects in old Ohrid

The government of North Macedonia submitted a bill to parliament to tighten the architectural regime for the preservation of the old town of Ohrid. Ban on the construction of new buildings, extensions and structures until the adoption of a detailed development plan for the city by the lake is envisaged. "This will encourage the competent authorities to adopt new detailed development plans that include conservation activities, with a detailed plan for the protection of the cultural heritage of particular importance", the Ministry of Culture in North Macedonia said. The old city center of Ohrid has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1980. It is also part of the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region, BTA recalls.

According to Edi Rama, Bulgaria is hindering Albania’s EU integration

At the "Balkans in Focus" discussion during the Munich Security Conference, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama demanded that Tirana be separated from Skopje on the road to the EU. According to Rama, Albania cannot take the next step towards the bloc in a package with North Macedonia. "Delaying the European integration of the region is the best fuel for nationalism. Albania's accession to the EU has been blocked due to disagreements between North Macedonia and Bulgaria. Using one's place in the EU as an instrument against your neighbors is the most anti-European thing," Rama said, quoted by BGNES. Asked if Albania had problems with Greece on the way to the EU, Rama replied sarcastically: "Problems? No, we love Greece. I did not come to Munich to disturb my Greek friends, because they follow me everywhere and listen to the tone of my voice when I speak for them, so in no way bring us into conflict with them," he said.

Despite the natural disasters, Greece reports a record in tourism in 2023

Despite a prolonged heat wave and devastating forest fires that led to the evacuation of thousands of people in 2023, Greece has achieved a new record in tourism. Over 32.7 million people visited the country, the Central Bank of Greece announced. In some areas, temperatures last summer exceeded 46 °C. In July, tens of thousands of guests were evacuated from the islands of Rhodes and Corfu. In September, there were massive floods in Central Greece. In comparison, in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of foreigners who visited the country was a record 31.3 million people. Tourism revenues in 2023 also hit a new high of nearly €20.5 billion, up from €18.15 billion in 2019. Compared to 2022, the number of visitors from the EU increased by 15.6%. Arrivals from non-EU countries also increased by 20.8%.

Nicosia is one of the leading cities in Europe in terms of human capital and lifestyle

The Cypriot capital Nicosia topped the top 10 ranking of Small European Cities of the Future for 2024, in terms of Human Capital and Lifestyle. The study of the most promising investment destinations in Europe is by the British newspaper "The Financial Times". The leading position means that Nicosia is the most attractive small city in Europe for study, work and career development. The high rating of the Cypriot capital is a result of its "international outlook and dynamic potential that can be leveraged by investors and businesses”. Among the 300 cities and 150 regions in the ranking, Nicosia is ahead of cities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Geneva. Among the most significant projects that helped the city top the ranking is the large-scale program "Smart Nicosia" financed by the EU.

Compiled by: Ivo Ivanov

Publication in English: Al. Markov

Photos: aa.com.tr, ohridnet.com, Facebook / Edi Rama, BGNES, dom.com.cy

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