2008: The Serbian government continues to take the position that eventually
Serbia will gain internationally recognized rights to administer predominantly
ethnic Serb areas in Kosovo. Serbia argues that the Kosovar government cannot
protect Serbia cultural sites within Kosovo, sites like Serbian Orthodox
churches. The Serb diplomatic position has changed somewhat. Serbia now
indicates it is willing to "partner" with UN police to protect ethnic Serb
2008: Kosovo security guards, at Prime Minister Hashim Thaci's home, fired upon and stopped an intruder. The
incident occurred late at night. The security guards said one of the intruders
was wounded. Thaci has a lot of enemies and not just Serbs. He led the Kosovo
Liberation Army (KLA) in the late 1990s.
rejected a NATO-developed plan to train Kosovo's security forces. The Kosovo
security forces (armed paramilitary police) are expected to assume police and
security duties at some point in the future. When will that be? After the UN
leaves and when the European Union determines that Kosovo can survive on its
2008: Turkey's highest court, the Constitutional Court, ruled that the
government's new rule that allows Muslim women to wear headscarves in colleges is
not constitutional. The government is run by the Justice and Development Party
(AKP), which is regarded as a "moderately" Islamist party. The AKP also
promotes liberal economics. That said, the Republic of Turkey is a "Kemalist"
state (named for Kemal Ataturk, the republic's founder). Ataturk was very
suspicious of Islamic revivalists. The
ruling was not unexpected. In fact, there is still a chance that the
Constitutional Court will ban the AKP.
The AKP (June 6) responded and said that the court was legislating from
the bench and usurping parliament's role.
2008: Macedonia's VMRO-DPMNE party won a major election victory. There is still
wrangling going on over VMRO's total number of parliamentary seats, but it is
guaranteed a majority in the 120 seat parliament. The two main ethnic Albanian
parties, the DPA (Democratic Party of Albanians) and DUI (Democratic Union for
Integration), remain divided. In fact, the lingering worry in Macedonia is that
the two rival Albanian political groups. The "name war" with Greece played a
prominent role in the campaign. Many Macedonians (both Slav and Albanian) are
angry at Greece's insistence that Macedonia be called the FYROM (Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).
2008: Greece's military chief of staff met with the chief of staff of the
Turkish military in Ankara. The two generals issued a joint statement that the
two nations need to work together to insure peace. This may not seem like a big
deal, but both the Greek and Turkish militaries remain very suspicious of one
another. Both militaries are in the process of modernizing their respective
forces. The Turkish Air Force intends to buy 100 F-35s by 2020. Since the end
of World War Two the US has served as a "political buffer" between Greece and
Turkey. It has also encouraged closer defense cooperation between the two
nations. Despite their status as NATO allies, old enmity frequently divided
them. A resolution of the division of Cyprus would go a long way to increasing
military cooperation between Greece and Turkey.