Balkans: The Supreme Soviet


October 28, 2009: The government of Transdnistr, the “statelet” within Moldova, has not concealed its dislike for the new Moldovan government. Transdnistr remains staunchly pro-Russia and sees the “Euro-West” coalition that won the new elections as pro-Romanian. The new Moldovan government favors what it calls “European integration” and good relations with Romania. As it is, politics within the statelet of Transdnistr remain divided between the Respublika Party and the Obnovlenie (Renewal) Party. Both parties have strong ties to Russia and both favor keeping Russian peacekeeping troops in Transdnistr in order “to maintain stability.” The government of Transdnistr refers to its small parliament as The Supreme Soviet, which tells you a lot about the authoritarian bent and the political legacy of the statelet.

October 24, 2009: Turkey's “outreach” program to Armenia continues. Both countries remain very suspicious of the other, and that's to be expected, given the bad history between Armenians and Turks. Turkey continues to support Azerbaijan's claim to the Nagorno-Karabakh region which is occupied by Armenia.

October 19, 2009: Macedonia and Kosovo have agreed to establish full diplomatic relations. The countries also said they have resolved a touchy border dispute that has lingered for eight years. Macedonia recognized Kosovo's declaration of independence in October 2008, much to the chagrin of Serbia, but said that it would not establish full state to state relations until the border issue was settled amicably. Macedonia received a political benefit from Kosovo. In the new border agreement Kosovo referred to Macedonia as the Republic of Macedonia. This sticks a finger in Greece's face. Greece insists on referring to Macedonia as the FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The EU congratulated Kosovo and Macedonia on reaching the border settlement. Earlier this month the EU's European Commission recommended that the EU and Macedonia begin formally discussing Macedonian membership in the EU. Macedonia is already an “EU candidate.” Call it an award for good behavior.

October 15, 2009: A grenade exploded at a rock concert, by a Russian music group, held in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau. Forty people were wounded. The grenade was apparently rigged as a boobytrap inside a box. Security officials were investigating.

Turkish police arrested 50 people linked to Al Qaeda and an Al Qaeda-affiliated terror group, the Islamic Jihad League.

October 13, 2009: Syria announced it will hold a military exercise with Turkey. The Syrian announcement came after Turkey canceled a scheduled military exercise with Israel.

Officials in the Bosnian Serb statelet, Republika Sprska, rejected an attempt by international mediators to negotiate a new Bosnian constitution and revive the Dayton Accords. The Bosnian Serb statement called Bosnia “an unsustainable country.” Many Bosnian Serbs still favor unification with Serbia.

October 4, 2009: Greece's Socialist Party (Panhellenic Socialist Movement, PASOK) won the national election. PASOK won 44 percent of the vote and the center-right New Democracy Party won 33.5 percent. PASOK will control around 160 seats in the 300 seat parliament. Greek media said PASOK won because of Greece's deep financial crisis. New Democracy had been in power and its leaders called the election to get a mandate to address the economic problems.

October 2, 2009: Three former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) were sentenced to prison in Kosovo for beating and torturing civilians. The crimes occurred in 1998 and 1999, as the KLA fought with Serbian security forces in Kosovo. The trial was overseen by the European Union's police and justice mission (EULEX).

September 29, 2009: Greek politicians, in the middle of a big election, took time to admonish Turkey. Hey, it's Greek politics and attacking Turkey plays well across the Greek political spectrum. The New Democracy Party candidate, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, said that Turkey was not taking the political steps required to join the European Union, or at least not making them fast enough. Greece and Turkey remain at odds over Cyprus. The EU wants Turkey to allow ships from Greek Cypriot ports to dock at Turkish seaports. Turkey has refused to comply with this request since the EU refuses to trade with the Turkish sector on Cyprus. Greece uses Turkey's interest in joining the EU as a political lever. Turkey, of course, has a political lever in Cyprus, the Turkish Army garrison.




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