Balkans: Turks Seek Protection From Israeli Missiles


November 10, 2010:  The European Union is once again trying to end the stand-off between Moldova and its separatist statelet, Transdniestr. Last month EU leaders tried to encourage the Russian government to help push Transdniestr to begin new and serious negotiations. France and Germany were involved in the effort. Russia, however, continues to treat Transdniestr as a separate political entity from Moldova. The EU understands the deep problem Transdniestr represents. It is an enclave with a significant ethnic Russian minority. Moldova borders Romania, a member of NATO, and arguably Moldova is part of Romania that was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union after World War II. The EU wants the problem solved so that at some point in the future it does not develop into a Romania-Russia confrontation. For its part, Russia insists on the permanent neutrality of Moldova.

November 7, 2010: Greek Cypriot politicians and media are touting what they call a new era in relations with the state of Israel. The Greek Cypriots point to the increasingly political antagonism between Israel and Turkey. There have also been a series of high level meetings between Greek and Israeli leaders. Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders are preparing for a new round of UN-sponsored negotiations which are scheduled to start later this month. The big issue on the table is Greek Cypriot property in the northern Turkish sector. Greek Cypriots want the property returned, Turkish Cypriots propose paying for the property (ie, compensation). This is in many respects one of the thorniest problems diplomats face in resolving the Cyprus dispute.

November 6, 2010: The Turkish government said that it would not oppose what it called necessary NATO security measures. This is diplomatic code language which signals that Turkey does not oppose NATO's proposed anti-missile defense system. This is something of a change from language a few Turkish diplomats were using a month ago when they suggested that Turkey might not support the anti-missile project if Iran were singled out as the enemy the shield is intended to stop. The new Turkish support, however, is based on a specific request: that all of Turkey be protected by the anti-missile system and Turkey not be used only as a radar site because it has a border with Iran. The total protection would include defense against Israeli ballistic missiles.

November 4, 2010: The president of Serbia visited Croatia and attended a memorial service for the victims of the 1991 massacre at Vukovar. The president stated that Serbia regretted the massacre. Some 260 Croats were murdered at Vukovar when the Serbo-Croat War erupted in 1991. That war preceded the Bosnian War and the other wars now sometimes called The Yugoslav War of Devolution.

November 3, 2010: Greek police seized several parcel and letter bombs. The mail bombs were genuine threats but also clearly propaganda, since several of them were addressed to European Union political leaders.

November 2, 2010: Following a no-confidence vote in its parliament, Kosovo announced it will hold new national elections December 12. Kosovo's current government was shaken when the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK, regarded as the moderate Kosovar Albanian party) quit the coalition government in mid-October.

November 1, 2010: A parcel bomb exploded in Athens, Greece, wounding one person. Greek police reported that they had found other parcel bombs sent by suspected anarchist and leftist terrorist organizations. The police speculated that the Fire Conspiracy Cells (an anti-government terror group) may have been responsible for the parcel bomb attack.

October 31, 2010: A suicide bomb attack in Istanbul, Turkey, wounded 32. The attack occurred in Taksim Square, where fifteen 15 of the wounded were policemen. The Turkish government said it believed the Kurdistan Workers Party ) PKK was behind the attack, but did not rule out other terror groups. Subsequently, a PKK faction took responsibility for the attack.

October 28, 2010: Bulgaria's parliament voted to support a recommendation that the Bulgarian defense ministry reduce military strength from 44,100 personnel (the current level) to 37,000 personnel by 2013.

Romania announced that it supports the creation of a NATO-wide anti-missile defense system.

October 26, 2010: Turkish security personnel arrested 35 people suspected of belonging to a group tied to anti-government members of the military. The arrests are another example of the fight between Turkish secularists and the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) which is the nation's ruling party. The allegations against the group arrested today include stealing and falsifying documents with the intent to blackmail their political opponents.

October 20, 2010: Russia announced it intends to increase military ties with Serbia. This is because the Serbian military requires modernization and Russia wants to help. The Russian statement comes at a time when Serbia is discussing how it might contribute to European security and is discussing increased cooperation with Hungary, Bulgaria, and Greece. All three of these nations are members of NATO. In this light, the Russian announcement sounds like an attempt to slow or stop this political trend.

October 18, 2010: Spain announced that it was officially ending its military mission in Bosnia. Spanish soldiers have participated in various Bosnian peacekeeping operations for 18 years (since 1992). During that time period 22 soldiers and one civilian interpreter were killed. Spain will keep a small military training mission in Bosnia.




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