Saturday, October 4, 2014

Biden apologizes to Turkish president for ISIS remarks

Published time: October 04, 2014 20:51
U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden. (Reuters/Larry Downing)
U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden. (Reuters/Larry Downing)

US Vice President Joe Biden has apologized to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after alleging that the leader allowed foreign fighters allied with the Islamic State to cross into Syria. Erdogan was outraged over the remark.
READ MORE: Biden blames US allies in Middle East for rise of ISIS
Biden presented his apology in a phone call to Erdogan on Saturday, the White House said.

Speaking at Harvard University on Thursday, Biden claimed that "President Erdogan told me, he is an old friend, said you were right, we let too many people through, now we are trying to seal the border.”

Responding to the remark, Erdogan said he “never admitted any mistakes.”

"If Biden told these words, then he will be history to me. I never uttered such remarks," the Turkish leader said. “He should apologize. I'm saying this clearly. And we won't accept slender, indirect explanations.”

During the phone call with Erdogan, Biden “apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL (IS, ISIS) or other violent extremists in Syria," the White House said.

On Thursday, Biden blamed America’s allies in the region – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – for allowing the rise of the Islamic State, saying they supported extremists with money and weapons in their eagerness to oust the Assad regime in Syria.

Amphipolis tomb could intensify Greece-Macedonia feud 


Posted By on Fri, Oct 3, 2014 

Are you following what’s going on in Amphipolis, Greece? It’s as gripping and interwoven as Game of Thrones. And the story is just as rich — mixing thousands of years of history, geopolitics, imperialism, and hero worship.

Archaeologists have discovered a tomb dating back to the reign of Alexander the Great. Yes, I know. This is ancient ground. Tombs must be as abundant as Starbucks is here.

But this is exceptional. The tomb is massive, and has the potential to be a singularly significant archaeological find. The size and design of the tomb have led to speculation about who might be buried inside. Some say it is Alexander’s mother, Olympias. Others say it’s one of Alexander’s generals, or his wife, Roxana.

The most tantalizing theory, of course, is that it’s the great conqueror himself — though archaeologists and scholars tend to dismiss that notion. The location of Alexander’s tomb – apparently he was dragged around a bit after death – is one of the great unsolved mysteries of ancient archaeology.

What a trip, though, if it is Alexander. Greece and Macedonia have long squabbled over “ownership” of the ancient king. (There’s more than a bit of bad blood between the two. Greece blocked Macedonia’s bid to become a member of NATO — demanding that Macedonia change its name. And Macedonia seems to be doing everything it can — gleefully — to “steal” Alexander from Greece.) The unearthing of Alexander, pupil of Aristotle, would almost certainly up the stakes in this long and building feud.

The tomb is a full-blown media sensation, which is interesting and troubling at the same time. The slow, methodical pace of the science is hardly a fit for the 10-second Tweet cycle. So far, the archaeologists actually doing the excavation work don’t seem to be giving into the pressure — they’re resisted talking to the media. But the Greece prime minister is practically salivating, and I hope he doesn’t try to rush the dig along, which could jeopardize this very important historical find.


"The Himara Issue" brings in Tirana a group of US Congressmen

           US Republican Congresman of Florida Gus Bilirakis with member of the Himara Community in USA


Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) will come for the first time in Tirana, for intensive meetings

 US Congressmen will arrive in Albania, after the problematic vote of Territorial Division, where Himara Region, rejected joining with Vranishti Municipality

Gregory Meeks, Official Photo.jpg
 Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY)

Rep. Jack Kingston.jpg
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA)

                  US V/President Joe Biden with Kosmas Karavellas, Chairman of the Himararioton Lobby of USA

US Republican Congressmen, will came on 11 October, will met in Tirana with Prime Minisiter Edi Rama, Archbishop Anastasios, as well as Vangjel Dule. Also they will met representatives of the Himara Community of Diaspora and "Omonia" Organsation.

 With the insistence of Prime Minister Rama diverted planned visit the US Congressmen in Himara

Tirana. A group of high-level of USA politicians,
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), will visit Tirana on October 11. The "Himara Issue" under the "New Territorial Division" by voting in the Albanian Parliament,  is the preoccupation both the State Department and the House of Representatives of USA, in which Himara, joined arbitrarily, unjustly, with Vranishti Municipality.

The Group of American officials, chaired by Republican Congressman Gus Bilirakis of Florida (The Greek Amerikan Lobby) , will meet on October 11 in Tirana, with senior representatives of the Albanian state, including, Prime Minister Edi Rama, Mayor of Parliament Ilir Meta, as Archbishop Janullatos and Vangel Dules, and representatives of the Himara Community of Diaspora and "Omonia" Organsation.

  The fact was made known in the international plan that "Himara issue" is widely discussed during the Parliamentary session on 31 July, which was voted the new Territorial Division,which would have ramifications. The group of senior US Representatives has attended systematically many concerns, complaints by the Himariot Lobby in USA, for all the framework of freedoms and human rights in which property and Territorial Division, constitutes the "Himara Issue".

Meanwhile, Albanian opposition, has appealed the new territorial division to the Constitutional Court of Albania, based on the fact that communities and local administrative units, were not asked for their rights, according to the Constitution of Albania.


In a meeting held on 19 June 2014 in Dhermi, the main representatives of political parties and Civil Society of Himara adopted a resolution, they can go to referendum, if the Parliament, would give its consent Administrative Division, against the aspirations of the people of Himara, based on the Albanian Constitution, Article 108.
Council of Europe Report on Albania


Territorial division, should be done by consensus based with the involvement of all opposition, administration and local communities

Albania must address issues that legally belong to minority ethnic groups and where they are located throughout the country.

More see:

Durres: Broken the "Square Thessaloniki" unidentified removed the Greek flag

Durres - Smash plates "Square Thessaloniki" in Durres. Unidentified persons after injury to the plate have also removed the Greek flag.

Placard under the symbolic name "Square Thessaloniki" was built some time ago in one of the squares of Durres, the ceremony for which was attended by the Mayor of Thessaloniki own Giannis Boutaris.

But about a year ago in the Greek city of Thessaloniki was inaugurated park named "Durres-Albania".

Plates named coastal city, holds on both sides of its Albanian and Greek flag as a symbol of good relations between the two neighboring countries. In connection with the destruction of the plate "Square Thessaloniki", Durres Police launched an investigation to find the vandals.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Euro 2016: 1,500 fans from Albania coming to Belgrade Sport Football 
Published: Oct 3, 2014

t BELGRADE – Football Association of Albania informed the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) that they are not accepting the proposal that the match between the two countries in the qualifiers for Euro 2016 should pass without the presence of visiting supporters. fss7 “By bringing in fans to Belgrade to match Serbia – Albania, Football Association of Albania takes over full responsibility for the behavior of their fans,” the statement said, adding that the FSS proposed that the matches are played without visiting supporters solely because of the organization of the event.

A match between Serbia and Albania is scheduled for October 14 at Partizan’s Stadium in Belgrade. FSS will, it added, provide the anticipated contingent of tickets, five percent of stadium capacity, and shall make it available to the fans of Albania. “Therefore, the identical principle shall be applicable during the match of the national team in Albania on October 8 2015,” it added.

Notes on a Turkish Conspiracy

How the looming end of a 100-year-old treaty exposes the existential paranoia at the heart of Erdogan’s foreign policy.

    BY Nicholas Danforth
    OCTOBER 2, 2014

While American commentators debate whether Turkey will join U.S. President Barack Obama's coalition against the Islamic State, some Turkish pundits are looking ahead to more serious foreign-policy challenges -- like what will happen in 2023 when the Treaty of Lausanne expires and Turkey's modern borders become obsolete. In keeping with secret articles signed by Turkish and British diplomats at a Swiss lakefront resort almost a century ago, British troops will reoccupy forts along the Bosphorus, and the Greek Orthodox patriarch will resurrect a Byzantine ministate within Istanbul's city walls. On the plus side for Turkey, the country will finally be allowed to tap its vast, previously off-limits oil reserves and perhaps regain Western Thrace. So there's that.

Of course, none of this will actually happen. The Treaty of Lausanne has no secret expiration clause. But it's instructive to consider what these conspiracy theories, trafficked on semi-obscure websites and second-rate news shows, reveal about the deeper realities of Turkish foreign policy, especially under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's pro-Islam Justice and Development Party (AKP).

After defeating the Ottoman Empire in World War I, Britain, France, Italy, and Greece divided Anatolia, colonizing the territory that is now Turkey. However, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk reorganized the remnants of the Ottoman army and thwarted this attempted division through shrewd diplomacy and several years of war. Subsequently, the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne recognized Ataturk's victory and established the borders of modern Turkey. Lausanne then became part of the country's foundational myth. For a time it even had its own holiday, Lausanne Day, when children dressed in costumes representing contested regions of Anatolia for elementary school plays.

With the Treaty of Lausanne so embedded in the Turkish state's ideology, it is no surprise that conspiracies about it are ideologically loaded and vary according to the partisan affiliation of the individual conspiracy-monger. Erdogan's critics tend to be more focused on the risks Turkey faces when Lausanne expires. Conspiracy-minded secularists have always worried that Erdogan is working with the European Union to establish an independent Kurdistan or perhaps dig a new Bosphorus to secure American ships' access to the Black Sea, or really doing anything else possible to undermine the sovereignty Ataturk secured for Turkey. Some of Erdogan's supporters, by contrast, are more optimistic about Lausanne's expiration, in part based on a strain of recent historical revisionism suggesting that Ataturk actually could have gotten a much better deal during the negotiations had he not been in league with the Europeans -- not preserved the whole Ottoman Empire, necessarily, but at least held on to a bit more of Greek Thrace and maybe the oil fields of Mosul. Where Ataturk once criticized the Ottoman sultan for failing to defend Turkish territory in the face of Western aggression, Islamists have now borrowed this charge for use against Ataturk.

In the realm of Turkish domestic politics, talk about "the end of Lausanne" reflects the fears of some and the hopes of others that with former prime minister, now president, Erdogan's consolidation of power over the last decade, Turkey has embarked on a second republic -- what Erdogan calls "New Turkey." Supporters believe this new incarnation of the Turkish state will be free of the authoritarianism that defined Ataturk's republic; critics worry it will be bereft of Ataturk's secularism.

Still, the persistence of the end-of-Lausanne myth shows the extent to which New Turkey will be indebted to the ideology of the old one. Turkish Islamists have certainly inherited the conspiratorial nationalism found among many secularists, complete with the suspicion of Euro-American invasions and Christian-Zionist plots. (Is it any coincidence Lausanne is in Switzerland, a center of world Zionism?) While the secularist fringe speculated that Erdogan was a secret Jew using moderate Islam to weaken Turkey on Israel's orders, many in the AKP's camp now imagine that all Erdogan's problems are caused by various international conspiracies seeking to block Turkey's meteoric rise.

In the realm of foreign policy, though, these conspiracies belie a deeper truth: Despite the current violence to Turkey's south, the borders enshrined in the Treaty of Lausanne are more secure than they have ever been. And the AKP was the first government to fully realize this. While Erdogan has often stoked nationalist paranoia for political gain, as when he claimed foreign powers were behind popular anti-government protests, the AKP's foreign policy was the first to reflect a serious awareness of Turkey's newfound political and economic power, not to mention the security that comes with it.

    Beneath all the bizarre rhetoric and paranoia, the AKP realized that Turkey has finally moved beyond an era in its foreign policy defined by the need to defend what was won at Lausanne.

Beneath all the bizarre rhetoric and paranoia, the AKP realized that Turkey has finally moved beyond an era in its foreign policy defined by the need to defend what was won at Lausanne.

After the Treaty of Lausanne was signed, Turkey's main geopolitical aim was the preservation of its territorial integrity. In the 1920s and 1930s, the threat came from European powers like fascist Italy. In response, Turkish statesmen embraced a perilous neutrality, controversially staying out of World War II from fear that joining either side would invite a Russian or German invasion. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union emerged as a uniquely imminent threat, leading Turkey to abandon its neutrality and join NATO.

When the Cold War ended, a new threat to Turkey's borders emerged: a guerrilla war launched by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). This threat helped unite Turkey with Israel over a shared belief that comfortable Western liberals would never understand why, in a dangerous neighborhood, killing terrorists -- be they Kurdish or Palestinian -- took precedence over human rights. In fact, Turkey entered the 21st century much like Israel: a regional power with a self-perception based on the fear and insecurity that circumscribed its founding. Amid fevered criticism of the war in Gaza this summer, it was striking to see a few Turkish writers offer advice to Israel about the benefits Turkey has found in overcoming this self-perception.

American observers often forget that when the AKP came to power in 2003, almost all of Turkey's borders, not just the Middle Eastern ones, were potential hot spots. War with Greece seemed like a real possibility, not to mention with Iran, Syria, Iraq, or Armenia. Ahmet Davutoglu -- then foreign minister, now prime minister -- set out to change this with his signature, if awkwardly translated "zero problems with neighbors" policy. With the Arab Spring and Syrian uprising having undermined many of Davutoglu's accomplishments by creating a host of new problems, it has been easy to mock this policy for its naiveté. That response ignores the real benefits the policy delivered to Turkey, particularly on the heels of an era when Turkey's fear-driven approach to regional issues sometimes seemed, instead, like one of "maximum problems with neighbors."

Among other things, Davutoglu honed a more diplomatic language appropriate to Turkey's new power and ambitions. For example, rather than responding with nationalistic brio to hostile questions about Turkish claims on the Aegean Sea from Greek sometimes-adversaries, he would, instead, gently defuse these Balkan bombs by gracefully suggesting the real question was "how do we make the Aegean a sea of peace?" Turkey, Davutoglu deftly suggested, had left such petty Balkan disputes behind and had moved on to more important things. Like making money.

Indeed, sometimes underneath all the ideological bluster, Erdogan's government was accused of being a little too eager to capitalize on Turkey's new position of economic strength. Ironically, during the recent war in Gaza, Erdogan's opponents criticized his rhetoric toward Israel not as too harsh but as too hollow. Secular and Islamist critics alike took great joy in pointing out that while Erdogan has become an outspoken critic of Israel, Turkish-Israeli trade has nevertheless steadily increased during the AKP's time in office, with Erdogan's son playing a key role. It is a telling sign of the shift in Turkey that where once the Turkish military worked to maintain good Turkish-Israeli relations behind the scenes amid public spats, now that role had been assumed by the Turkish business community.

Ankara was reluctant to join the West's anti-Qaddafi coalition in 2011, for example, in large part because Turkish businessmen had been doing brisk business in Libya to the tune of almost $10 billion during the previous year. When civil war broke out in Syria shortly after the uprising in Libya began, Erdogan and Davutoglu were eager to be on the right side of history from the beginning -- and, likely, were also a little embarrassed that improved ties with Bashar al-Assad's regime were one of the most prominent and profitable achievements of the "zero problems" policy.

Now, a stronger, wealthier Turkey has discovered some of the challenges that a strong, wealthy country can face. Americans might even recognize a few. The Arab Spring revealed that undemocratic regimes only make great business partners until they are overthrown. An exaggerated sense of confidence also led Turkey to take such an active role in supporting anti-Assad rebels in Syria without fully considering potential blowback. Turkish voters are now questioning their country's role in this violent quagmire, especially after Islamic State militants, seemingly ungrateful for Turkey's previous patronage, kidnapped and held dozens of Turkish citizens working in the country's consulate in Mosul, Iraq.

Now, with the possibility of Islamic State attacks within Turkey or renewed conflict with the PKK, AKP foreign policy will be judged by whether it can continue to translate Turkey's abstract geopolitical security -- those Lausanne borders still aren't going anywhere -- into personal safety and stability for Turkish citizens. In short, Erdogan and Davutoglu will face plenty of challenges even without having to renegotiate the Treaty of Lausanne.

Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images
Football strife for Albania and Serbia
06:45 AEST Fri Oct 3 2014

Albanian football chiefs have rejected a proposal by their Serbian football counterparts to play their high-risk Euro 2016 qualifiers without visiting fans.
The Serbian Football Federation (FSS) had proposed the ties on October 14 in Belgrade and October next year in Albania be played without visiting fans due to security concerns.
But Albanian Football Federation (FSHF) chief Armando Duka lamented: "A match without fans loses its true emotions.
"Serbian fans will be welcomed in Albania for the Albania-Serbia match in October 2015."
The FSHF said in a statement they had demanded tickets for the match in Belgrade and urged authorities there to "take the necessary steps to ensure the (Albanian) supporters' safety".
Serbian football authorities feared possible incidents before and during the between the two Balkan countries where relations are tense.
"By deciding to bring their fans to Belgrade, the Albanian federation took on full responsiblity for their behaviour," the Serbian federation said in a statement.
Relations between Belgrade and Tirana have been sensitive notably since former Serbian province of Kosovo, whose inhabitants are mostly ethnic Albanians, declared independence in 2008.
Kosovo's independence has been recognised by more than 100 countries, including the United States and most European Union member states.
But the former Serbian province is still not a member of world football governing body FIFA and cannot take part in international tournaments.

Putin to receive Order of Republic of Serbia in Belgrade

BELGRADE -- Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic will present the Order of the Republic of Serbia on a sash to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic will present the Order of the Republic of Serbia on a sash to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will pay an official visit to Belgrade on October 16, Nikolic's presidential press office said in a statement.
The Russian President will be welcomed at the Nikola Tesla Airport by the Serbian president, who has invited him to visit Serbia. After that, an official welcoming ceremony will be held in the Palace of Serbia, and will be followed by a meeting between Nikolic and Putin.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic is also scheduled to meet with the President of the Russian Federation is, after which the Serbian and Russian delegations will hold a plenary meeting.

A signing ceremony for inter-state agreements is scheduled to take place after the plenary meeting.

The two presidents will attend a military parade at which Nikolic will present Putin with the Order of the Republic of Serbia on a sash.

On the occasion, both presidents will address those attending.

The presidents of Serbia and the Russian Federation will lay wreaths at the Cemetery of the Liberators of Belgrade, the statement said.

"Republic of Srpska will be state"

BANJA LUKA -- The President of the Republic of Srpska, Milorad Dodik, announced a reform of the entity Constitution.
The President of the Republic of Srpska, Milorad Dodik, announced a reform of the entity Constitution, which will first of all include the defense of the Republic of Srpska’s jurisdictions.
According to him, the new Constitution of the Republic of Srpska (RS) should contain a clause according to which the decisions enforced by the High Representative in BiH can be applied only if approved by the RS Parliament.

"The key issue of the reform of the RS Constitution will relate to the issues of locating and defense of the RS jurisdictions. For the implementation of this clause strong institutions are needed – the Parliament and the Government of RS and the strong will of the people," said Dodik.

‘’Stating that the reform of the entity Constitution will be completed next year and will cause a reaction’’, he noted that "lawyers in the RS need not be afraid, just as he is not afraid of anyone’’.

"It is your job to help me in how to make the best legal text of the Constitution of the Republic of Srpska. We do not raise any revolution, but defend the acquired jurisdictions and the right of the RS" Dodik pointed out.

He also said that ways in which RS can sue high representatives within the judiciary in their countries for violations of international law should be considered, adding that they are not going to give up.

Dodik has stated that RS is not a state, but that the policy he advocates is that RS is "less of an entity, and more of a state".

Albania PM to visit Serbia after 68 years

Albania PM to visit Serbia after 68 years
Pope Francis speaks with Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama (R) at Mother Teresa airport in Tirana on September 21, 2014. (Reuters)
TIRANA (Albania): Albania's foreign minister says Prime Minister Edi Rama will visit Belgrade later this month in the first visit to Serbia by an Albanian premier in 68 years.

Ditmir Bushati said Friday that the situation of the ethnic Albanian minority in the southern Serbian province of Presevo and the recognition of Kosovo's independence would be part of the talks in the Oct 22 visit.

Belgrade has not recognized the 2008 independence of Kosovo, formerly a province of Serbia but with an ethnic Albanian majority population.

The last time an Albanian head of state visited Belgrade was in 1946, when late communist dictator Enver Hoxha met with Yugoslavia's then-leader, Josip Broz Tito, after World War II. The former allies' relations soured in 1949.

Now both countries aim to join the European Union.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ukrainian Troops Defend Donetsk Airport as Truce Wavers

Photographer: Anatoli Boiko/AFP/Getty Images
A Ukrainian soldier looks on at a camp base near Debaltseve, Ukraine, on Sept. 29, 2014.
Ukraine’s military fought off waves of separatist assaults on the Donetsk airport today, destabilizing a cease-fire that kept violence and casualties in check for most of last month.
The rebels suffered “many” casualties, Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian military, told reporters in Kiev. Government forces are under continued shelling and lost one serviceman in the past 24 hours, while the airport remains under the control of Ukrainian forces, he said. There was no independent confirmation of the figures for separatist deaths.
Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who helped broker the Sept. 5 truce, told Euronews TV he’s ready to send troops as peacekeepers and rebuild trust “between Russia and the West.” A Swiss citizen working for the International Red Cross was killed in the Donetsk region, Agence France Press reported, without providing any more details immediately.
Led the Government post, the member of Omonia

 Vice Foreign Minister of Albania Alkis Poulis resigns

The reasons that led to the resignation of course is the hostile attitude of the Government towards the Greek National Minority and the violation of human rights by the government Rama

Greece Calls Confidence Vote to Dispel Election Concerns

Photographer: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg
Shoppers laden with goods carry their purchases home after visiting a farmer's market... Read More
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras moved to head off opposition attempts to force early elections, calling a confidence vote to allow his government the space to conclude talks on the final stage of Greece’s bailout program.
Greek bonds and Athens stocks rose today after the government said that it will hold the vote next week when parliament resumes after the summer recess. The move was preemptive because the government expected the opposition to file a no-confidence motion, according to a senior government official who asked not to be named discussing strategy.
More than four years and as many prime ministers after Greece first requested outside help at the start of the euro-area debt crisis, the government is still prone to instability as it pushes through the budget cuts and economic reforms demanded by the so-called troika of international donors. The opposition Syriza party won European elections in May, and Samaras labors under a slim parliamentary majority.
“The government aims to refocus the political agenda back to reforms, talks with the troika and bailout exit and away from recent talk of early elections as early as November,” said Thanassis Drogossis, head of equities at Athens-based Pantelakis Securities.
The Athens Stock Exchange Index rose 2.2 percent at 1,081.98 as of 3:14 p.m. local time. Greek 10-year bond yields fell 9 basis points to 6.4 percent, after earlier climbing to as much as 6.6 percent. Greek bonds may enjoy a short-term bounce if the government wins the confidence vote next week, Daniel Lenz, strategist at DZ Bank, said in note to clients.

Presidential Trigger

The vote was announced unexpectedly by government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi after a meeting between Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos, president of Pasok, the government’s coalition partner. Samaras, who heads the New Democracy party, and Venizelos are due to meet again today.
The confidence motion is designed to demonstrate that the coalition has no plans to call a snap election before Greek President Karolos Papoulias’s term expires in March, the official said.
The election of a mainly ceremonial president to replace Papoulias is a possible trigger for early parliamentary elections because the government will need a majority of 180 votes in the country’s 300-seat chamber to elect the next head of state. The coalition has 154 lawmakers in its ranks.
As well as ending speculation over early elections, the move can give the government “a fresh green light to proceed with its crucial last round of negotiations with the troika,” said Vangelis Karanikas, head of research at Athens-based Euroxx Securities. It aims “to secure political stability in the country and give the government the time to proceed with important structural reforms,” he said.

Syriza Challenge

Representatives of the troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank are currently in Greece for talks on the bailout program.
Even after Samaras rejected demands by Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras to call early elections, Greece’s sovereign securities tumbled on investor concern that the government won’t be able to cover its financing needs when the aid program expires in December.
Opinion polls show that Syriza may win the next election. The party advocates a “significant” writedown on Greek government bonds and says it will reverse economic reforms backed by the troika.

Buying Time

If the government secures the election of a new president, a national ballot won’t be held before May 2016, giving Samaras time to capitalize on a projected economic rebound. The IMF and the EU say Greece’s economy will emerge this year from the longest recession on record.
Samaras said last week that Greece won’t ask for new emergency loans from the euro area when the current program expires, and that it may forsake IMF disbursements scheduled for next year and 2016.
The loans, which have kept Greece afloat since 2010, were attached to strict conditions of belt tightening that triggered a social backlash and exacerbated a recession that left more than a quarter of the workforce without a job.
Greece’s lenders say structural economic changes are necessary, as even after the biggest sovereign writedown in history, the country’s public debt will peak at 177 percent of gross domestic product this year, more than any other nation in the euro area, according to European Commission projections.
“Polls show that support for the government is weakening,” John Loulis, an Athens-based political analyst and communications strategist, said by phone yesterday. “The move to ask for a confidence vote is an attempt to cluster support from its lawmakers and show that it still commands power.”
To contact the reporters on this story: 
Photos of The Day
Today (old calendar) in 1914, the Colonel Spyros Spyromilios declares the Autonomy of Himarra Region in (Northern Epirus), today Albanian State. One hundred years on, the Region of Himara is included of the Albanian State and the Albanian Government denies their Greek character and ethnicity of the Community.



U.S. State Department: Arrest Jihadists In Greece

News from Greece

by Daphne Tsagari - Oct 2, 2014

Greek State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki has confirmed press reports that the US government has demanded that the Greek government arrest jihadi fighters traveling through the country en route from Albania and Bosnia to Syria and Iraq.

“We’ve of course expressed our concern about the flow of foreign fighters into and out of Syria and Iraq in very clear terms. This is not an issue that’s unique to Greece. We know that of the 15,000 foreign fighters, at least 2,000 of them are – we believe are Westerners. I can look into this more specifically – or these specific reports and see if there’s more we can add on that,” Psaki noted during a daily press briefing.

The Greek Intelligence Service has reportedly stepped up its efforts to locate and track suspected militants arriving in the country. It is believed that Western supporters of ISIS prefer to travel through Greece in their efforts to reach the Middle East.
- See more at:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blic: Serbia ready to welcome Putin, says PM

30 September 2014 | 13:24 | FOCUS News Agency
Blic: Serbia ready to welcome Putin, says PMPicture: AFP
Belgrade. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic is to meet with Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Alexander Chepurin, writes Serbian Blic daily.
On Sunday the Serbian Prime Minister announced that Belgrade was getting ready for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It is known that the Russian President will visit Belgrade soon. This will be officially confirmed by his cabinet very soon,” Vucic remarked.
A press conference is scheduled after the meeting between the PM and the Ambassador.

World Bank approves US$150 million project for Albania's power sector recovery and reforms

September 29, 2014
 Prind Media one of the articles that accused PM Berisha with World Bank, for Corruption

WASHINGTON, September 29, 2014—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$150 million in IBRD financing for the Power Recovery Project in Albania. The project will support Albania’s power sector reforms, particularly to improve the reliability of the electricity supply and the financial viability of the sector

The power sector is facing serious financial and operational challenges in Albania, manifested by a large unfunded deficit of about US$550 million and a large level of technical and commercial losses of about 42 percent – the highest in the region – due to non-payment of electricity bills by consumers, as well as poor collection rates. Energy generation relies almost entirely on hydropower, which means that emergency power imports are often required during dry seasons.
The Government's reform efforts for power sector recovery include diversifying generation sources, reducing distribution losses and improving collection, and improving the power market model in line with EU directives. A comprehensive Sector Recovery Plan will be implemented to address the pressing sector issues, especially its fiscal viability.

"The Power Recovery Project supports the implementation of government reforms, and will help to increase investment; improve management and performance, especially in distribution; and reduce inter-company arrears," said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Manager for Albania. "The project will support the sector recovery plan to address longstanding technical and financial issues."
The  project consists of four components : i) providing short-term complementary power import support; ii) upgrading distribution infrastructure; iii) upgrading the transmission meter/data center; and iv) supporting power sector reforms and project implementation.

"The key project entities are the Distribution Company, OShEE, which will benefit from the reduction of losses and improved billing and collection rates; KESh, Albania’s main generation company, which will benefit from improved financial sustainability; and the Transmission System Operator, OST, which will benefit from the installation of an enhanced metering data center to facilitate the market restructuring,” said Salvador Rivera, World Bank Senior Specialist for Energy and Project Team Leader. “The project is a first, necessary step to support sector reforms, leading to improved quality of service and reliability.”

Since Albania joined the World Bank in 1991, the Bank has financed a total of 83 projects with over US$1.95 billion of IDA credits and grants and IBRD loans to the country

The western Balkans and the EU

In the queue

The door to membership remains open, but the region must do more to get it

TO THOSE who oppose further European Union expansion to the western Balkans, the statement in July by Jean-Claude Juncker, the new European Commission president, was heartening. Negotiations would continue, he said, but “no further enlargement will take place over the next five years.” The political message seemed to be that the whole process was being slowed down.
The statement was “controversial and populistic,” says Stefan Fule, the outgoing enlargement commissioner, because no Balkan country would have been ready to join in the next five years. “It was a wrong message to the western Balkans at a wrong time”. Rumours spread the enlargement job would be dropped in Mr Juncker’s new commission. A few angry words (and tweets) from Carl Bildt, the outgoing Swedish foreign minister, helped head that off. To drop the enlargement portfolio, he said, would be a “very bad signal” and an “abdication of responsibility”.
The appointment earlier this month of Johannes Hahn, an Austrian, as the new commissioner, led to a search for meaning in his job title: neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations. The neighbourhood comprises six ex-Soviet countries plus the southern Mediterranean. Charles Tannock, a British member of the European Parliament, suggests that Mr Juncker’s downplaying of enlargement “is to assuage public opinion”. It has become a harder sell, he says, because of fears of organised crime and migration, quite apart from the unrelated controversy about a future membership of Turkey.

The western Balkans have lost the previous strong support of Britain, which mainly worries about immigration these days. But Germany has become more active. However, the deeper problems lie not within the EU but in the region itself. The progress of Bosnia, with its dysfunctional government, has been stalled for eight years. That of Macedonia remains blocked by a dispute with Greece about its name. Kosovo is so far behind that it remains the only country west of Ukraine whose citizens cannot travel to the EU’s Schengen zone without a visa.

This leaves Montenegro, which is negotiating, Albania, which became an official candidate in June, and Serbia, which has a green light to begin talks and hopes to do so by the end of the year. Tanja Miscevic, Serbia’s chief negotiator, has mixed feelings. Putting the emphasis on negotiations is a good thing, she says, but political commitment also matters.
There is a risk, says a new report by The Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group of analysts, of a “Turkish scenario” of talks that never end. That could open up other dangers, including meddling by Russia or Turkey. The report suggests that giving up the goal of EU membership, even if not formally, would have consequences “for democracy, inter-ethnic relations and for long-term economic investments”.

Luckily the western Balkans will shortly acquire one new ally in Brussels: Federica Mogherini, the Italian who is to be the EU’s high representative for foreign policy. Her country, like Mr Hahn’s, knows the Balkans well and understands that enlargement is a security issue. A stable Balkans is an asset for all, but an unstable and poor one could export crime and migrants or even lurch back into conflict. For Mr Juncker, says Miroslav Lajcak, the Slovak foreign minister, enlargement is clearly not a priority; but this need not cause the Balkans undue alarm. As Elmar Brok, chairman of the European Parliament’s foreign-affairs committee gruffly sums up, they just need to do their homework.

Today's Zaman 



Is Turkey supporting radical Islamists?

I announced in my previous column that the Culture, Education and Training Association (AKEA) and 16 other foundations and associations in Kosovo which the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) supported were shut down because of allegations that they were affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Nusra. I continue to receive reactions from Islamists in Turkey to this column and I will respond to these reactions in my next column. But allow me to first elaborate further on the connection between TİKA and AKEA based on new information. TİKA's official report for 2009 confirms it equipped the main headquarters of AKEA and contributed to the renovation of the building. TİKA's support for AKEA is not limited to this, but I believe this example is sufficient to prove support.

So why does TİKA support institutions that are kept under constant surveillance because of their radical Islamist orientation and why does it put Turkey under the spotlight as if there are no other humanitarian relief organizations? The answer to this question lies in the intelligence reports prepared by Kosovo and Turkish and Western agencies. The reports basically say: The image that Kosovo imports jihadists disturbs the people particularly because of its detrimental effect on its cause to gain further legitimacy in the international arena. Kosovar authorities took action because the number of Kosovars in ISIL exceeds 160 and some of them serve as heads and leaders in the organization despite the fact that there is little inclination towards and interest in political Islam in the country (the two political Islamist parties receive only 3 percent of the vote).

In addition, both the opposition and the government are acting jointly in this case because a Kosovar ISIL militant, Lavdrim Muhaxheri, was shown on his Facebook account beheading an “infidel,” another Kosovar killed Turkish troops whom he referred to as infidels and the son of Naim Ternava, the head of the Kosovar Islamic Union, called for support to the jihad in Syria.
As I noted in my previous column, the institutions shut down by the Kosovar authorities include AKEA and the Kosovo branch of the Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi Foundation. AKEA, formerly known as Urtesia (Wisdom) Culture and Solidarity Association, is an institution unofficially founded by Husamedin Abazi in 1997 while he was a student of Islamic studies in Riyadh; the association was then formally instituted in 1999 in Kosovo. Abazi was an ardent member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Riyadh who was authorized to establish a branch in Kosovo.

Contrary to the allegations coming from Islamists in Turkey, AKEA is an institution which was expelled by the Kosovar UN administration in the aftermath of 9/11 because it was an al-Qaeda affiliate and received support from Saudi authorities. In other words, al-Qaeda-affiliated groups have supported AKEA since the beginning. In Turkey, on the other hand, it has been supported by the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH). The Turkish government reportedly first interacted with AKEA members in 1999. A group of 33 who constituted the core of AKEA flew from İstanbul to Macedonia in March 1999 to join the war in Kosovo. The group was barred entry by the Macedonian authorities and had to return to İstanbul. They were settled by the Turkish authorities as refugees in the Kırklareli Gaziosmanpaşa Guest House. The group, supported by İHH, reorganized itself; it even seized control of the camp administration. The group was frequently visited by its leader, Abazi, and visitors from Egypt.

The gendarmerie also followed the activities of the group; it confiscated equipment belonging to the group, including computers, in a raid. They were taken to Albania under the coordination of a civil society group which is still influential in shaping the foreign policy of the current Turkish government without being deported as they held the status of refugees. Owing to financial aid by the same civil society group, they established a publishing house, FOCUS-A, after the war. They sponsored joint activities with LOGOS, a sister organization administered by Adnan Ismaili in Macedonia, and organized youth camps. Ahmet Davutoğlu, the currently prime minister of Turkey, paid visits to the camps in 1999, 2000 and 2001. On one of these visits, Abazi, in a sermon, referred to Sufi orders and religious communities in Turkey as the mother of distorted and perverted ideas; the current prime minister remained silent on this allegation.

AKEA translated Davutoğlu's “Stratejik Derinlik” (Strategic Depth) into Albanian; it was published by FOCUS-A. Davutoğlu, of course, extended his support. First a new building was constructed in Arberia/Dragodan, an upscale neighborhood of Prishtine under TİKA sponsorship. Kürşat Mamat, who currently serves like a project coordinator of İHH but is actually the TİKA coordinator in Palestine and was TİKA Kosovo coordinator at the time, took care of this project; he never took seriously warnings by Kosovar intelligence and the Turkish police and military authorities. AKEA's projects were later supported in different forms.

In 2012, Davutoğlu, the Turkish foreign minister at the time, expressed strong support in Kosovo when he joined a ceremony marking the opening of the Yunus Emre Foundation; it was Ramadan; the official program included an iftar with the participation of Kosovar and Turkish authorities; but he broke his fast at the AKEA office while the guests were waiting in another place for the official program. Rumors have it AKEA received $1.5 million in financial support from Murat Ülker to open a madrasah in Kosovo with the support of Bilal Erdoğan in early 2013. However, despite intense efforts, Prime Minister Hashim Thaqi considered warnings by Kosovar and Western intelligence agencies and so the madrasah was not opened.

Greek intrigue: What's hiding in ancient tomb?

ATHENS — Athenians, Spartans, Macedonians, Persians and Romans once marched through Amphipolis in northern Greece thousands of years ago.
Today, armies of politicians, journalists and archaeologists have occupied the small town after diggers recently unearthed a massive tomb guarded by a pair of carved stone sphinxes and two caryatids, or sculptured female figures, a few miles outside the town center.
"I don't know who the tomb is hiding, but I really like that everyone is talking about this," said Nikoletta Stavroulaki, 29, an unemployed Greek who is captivated by the archaeological site's progress. "Historians from around the world are expressing different opinions, and I'm following all this. This creates amazing suspense."
With a perimeter of about 1,600 feet, the design of the massive tomb discovered two months ago suggests an important leader was buried there, leaving some to wonder whether it is the resting place of Alexander the Great.
Greek TV stations have been conducting live broadcasts from the dig, updating their audiences on the excavation's daily schedule. Meanwhile, newspapers have splashed paparazzi-style photos of lead archaeologist Katerina Peristeri on their front pages.
Peristeri, who has been digging at the site for two years, has repeatedly stressed she hasn't found conclusive evidence suggesting who might be in the tomb, and she believes it was likely built after Alexander died in Babylon around 323 B.C.
Judging from the caryatids' dress, University of Athens archaeologist Olga Palagia believes the tomb dates from the Roman era. Due to its size, she thought it was likely a monument to an event that occurred near ancient Amphipolis.
"An excavation is dated by the things the excavators find inside, first from the ceramics and secondly from the inscriptions and the coins," Palagia explained on Greek television. "Right now there has been no evidence of these things, so we look at the sculptures."
Peristeri, meanwhile, has lashed out at archaeologists who have fueled speculation about the site.
"I am outraged by colleagues who, without knowing the excavation or the archaeological site of Amphipolis, go on television for five minutes of fame," she said on a TV broadcast. "This excavation isn't done only for the benefit of archaeology, but also for the sake of the country in a very critical time period. Everyone is watching."
Her statements, however, have only seemed to garner more attention to the dig. Pundits are speculating that if the tomb doesn't belong to Alexander, his murdered wife and child or one of his top generals could be inside.
Politicians are getting in on the hoopla, also — Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras stopped by for a photo-op last month.
"It is definite we're in front of an important find," Samaras said. "The Macedonian land continues to thrill and surprise us, revealing from its guts unique treasures that compose and weave this amazing mosaic of our Greek history for which all of us Greeks are proud of."
The notoriety and political overtones of the find have put archaeologists in the awkward position of asking for less attention.
"It is the first time that an excavation is underway with television requirements and timetables," the Association of Greek Archaeologists said in a press release after Samaras' visit. "We express our agony on the possible pressure our colleagues are under in their effort to conduct a scientifically correct and fully documented excavation in TV studio conditions."
University of Athens political scientist Yiannis Metaxas worries that all the excitement over the tomb is overshadowing its true worth as a remarkable discovery.
"If in the end these are important finds — they are being undermined by all this noise," he said.

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Moskva" Warship in Corfu 

Russian Warship come back in Ionian sea in Albanian border, since 1961

Russian "Warships" in the Ionian Islands as the Russian Fleet flagship, the cruiser «Moskva» stealing impressions and crew to "flood" the ports of Corfu and Lefkada. The visit of the ship was within the established annual celebrations in honor of the Russian admiral and Holy Russian Orthodox Church, Theodore Ousakof and tightening of intellectual and historical ties between the two countries.
2bThe "Russian Week Ionian Islands" was completed yesterday and today «Moskva» departs from Lefkada probably on the Black Sea. Had tied from Sunday off the coast of the Castle and the crew transferred to small boats in the floating bridge and then walk to Agios Minas.
13Many locals rushed to the beach to admire the imposing Russian ship. Something that did the inhabitants of the island of Corfu, the first station of the «Moskva» in Ionian islands. Apart from the flagship of the Russian Fleet traveled to the islands 30 Russian parliamentarians, officials and journalists in Moscow to give this to one of the largest Russian - Greek Social Forum, taking place internationally since 2002.
Outgoing EU Commissioner in Tirana
 Fule: Political debate, not on the streets
Fule: Political debate, not on the streets
The Commissioner for Enlargement, Stefan Fule, declared that the opposition’s boycott doesn’t help with the country’s integration.

“Leaving the Parliament and continuing the political battle on the streets doesn’t help the country’s integration, or the ambition of the Albanian people to get integrated at the European Commission”, Fule declared in a joint conference for the media with Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Fule appealed the opposition and the government to use the window that was opened today, so that the opposition returns in Parliament and the Government takes measures for the opposition to have everything they need to do their job.

“It’s not the parties who win in this moment, but the Albanian people”, Fule declared.

Prime Minister Rama expressed his readiness to answer to any claim of the opposition, with the purpose to return in Parliament.

“We are ready to vote for establishing any parliamentary commission”, Rama underlined.

Dnevnik, Croatia: Is Bulgaria Russia’s Trojan horse in the EU?

29 September 2014 | 11:54 | FOCUS News Agency
Dnevnik, Croatia: Is Bulgaria Russia’s Trojan horse in the EU?Picture: Focus Information Agency
Zagreb. Annual “Russophile festivities” held close to the Koprinka lake in Central Bulgaria attracted more than 7,000 people, including some MP runners, Croatian online news edition writes.
The media comments that the European Union (EU) is the only guarantee for Bulgaria and that the country is also a member of NATO. However, the majority of the Bulgarians are attracted to the East.
According to a survey of the Mediana institute, 40% of the Bulgarians are against the sanctions on Russia.
At the Russophile fair Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria, Yuriy Isakov, expressed his satisfaction with the fact that this meeting was “so close and carved to the hearts of Bulgarians despite the political situation”.
Dnevnik comments further that the two countries shared common languages, the Cyrillic alphabet and the Orthodox Christianity, while during the communist era Bulgaria was considered Russia’s most loyal alley.
“The attempt of the West to cause a quarrel between our brotherly nations is doomed to failure,” commented historian Danail Danailov.
“The nostalgia for Russia is expressed in some Bulgarians since a quarter of a century after the democratic change the small country, inhabited by 7.4 million people, continues to be the poorest in the EU.
On the eve of early parliamentary elections in Bulgaria, the tension between the EU and Russia gives hopes to the ultranationalist party Ataka, which started losing voters’ support.
At the meeting close to Koprinka Ataka leader Volen Siderov said that he would do his best for Bulgaria not to be turned into a firing ground against Russia,” writes further.
The news edition adds that speaking of the big political parties in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) was represented at the event, too.
“The socialists were more moderate compared with Ataka and asked for balanced policy in the name of the national interests,” the article reads further.
“The right wing in Bulgaria, headed by former prime minister Boyko Borisov, focuses on Bulgaria, while the Reformist Bloc – Borisov’s possible future coalitional partner, wants removal of the Russian monuments in the Bulgarian capital city Sofia,” Dnevnik comments.
“According to analysts, the new Bulgarian government will have to find a balance between Russia and the EU.
Ognyan Minchev with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, thinks that Bulgaria has a paradoxical position.
“The country is member of the EU and NATO but Moscow is controlling its energy sources, while the Bulgarian oligarchy protects the Russian economic and strategic interests,” Minchev comments,” Dnevnik writes further.
The Croatian news edition also stresses on the fact that both the leftist and the rightist in Bulgaria were unanimous over the need to build the South Stream gas pipeline project.
“In the meantime, Bulgaria’s balancing meets with suspicion in Europe. The European media comment that Germany and the rest of the EU member states were afraid that Moscow may use its influence in Bulgaria to split the Union.
“Bulgaria is the Russian Trojan horse in the EU,” political scientist Daniel Smilov says,” the article reads further.

Dnevnik, Macedonia: Strasbourg calls for recognition of the Macedonians in Bulgaria

29 September 2014 | 11:27 | FOCUS News Agency
Dnevnik, Macedonia: Strasbourg calls for recognition of the Macedonians in Bulgaria
Skopje. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) within the Council of Europe published its fifth report on Bulgaria last week and called Sofia to recognise the Macedonian minority and guarantee its rights, Macedonian Dnevnik daily reads.
The report also says that Bulgaria shows certain progress but problems connected with intolerance and xenophobia remained.
The document says that the approach towards the Roma people and the big number of Roma kids dropping out of school were serious problems.
Leader of the OMO Ilinden-PIRIN party, which is not registered in Bulgaria, said that it was good that the report outlined the problems faced by the Macedonians in Bulgaria. According to Stoyko Stoykov, they have won another moral battle but there is no instrument to make Bulgaria implement these recommendations.

Utrinski vesnik, Macedonia: No positive outlook for name dispute solution

29 September 2014 | 11:21 | FOCUS News Agency
Utrinski vesnik, Macedonia: No positive outlook for name dispute solutionPicture: AFP
Skopje. After two meetings over the Macedonia-Greece name dispute held in New York, there is no positive outlook for finding a solution soon, writes Macedonian Utrinski vesnik daily.
Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov met with UN Secretary General Bank Ki-moon and said that the illegal blockade of Macedonia’s deserved NATO membership did not set conditions for security and stability in the Balkans.
He also called for observation of the UN resolutions and the ruling of the International Court in The Hague.
Meanwhile, there was a meeting of the Macedonian and Greek Foreign Ministers in New York. After the meeting Macedonian minister Nikola Poposki said that the two countries had opposite positions.

NATO's planned Balkan expansion a 'provocation' - Russia's Lavrov

Mon Sep 29, 2014 

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - NATO's potential expansion to the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro could be seen as a "provocation", Russia's foreign minister was quoted as saying in a newspaper interview published on Monday.
Moscow has opposed any NATO extension to former communist areas of eastern and southeastern Europe, part of a competition for geo-strategic influence since the end of the Cold War that sits at the heart of the current conflict in ex-Soviet Ukraine.
Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia share an ambition to join the Western military alliance, following in the footsteps of Albania and ex-Yugoslav Croatia, which became members in 2009.
Asked about the integration of the three into NATO, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Bosnian daily Dnevni Avaz: "With regards to the expansion of NATO, I see it as a mistake, even a provocation in a way.
"This is, in a way, an irresponsible policy that undermines the determination to build a system of equal and shared security in Europe, equal for everyone regardless of whether a country is a member of this or that bloc."
Russia has energy interests in the Balkans and historical ties with the Slavs of the region, many of them Orthodox Christian like the Russians. But Moscow's influence has waned as the countries of the former Yugoslavia seek to join the European mainstream with membership of the EU and NATO.
The tiny Adriatic republic of Montenegro appears closest to NATO accession. Bosnia's bid is hostage to ethnic bickering that has slowed reforms, while Macedonia remains blocked by a long-running dispute with neighbouring Greece over the name of the landlocked country.
Only Serbia, perhaps Russia's closest ally in the region, is not actively pursuing membership of NATO given political sensitivities lingering since the alliance's 1999 air war against then-strongman Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to halt a wave of atrocities against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
Lavrov confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit Serbia in mid-October to mark the 70th anniversary of Belgrade's liberation from Nazi occupation by Yugoslav Partisan fighters and the Soviet army.
(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Matt Robinson/Mark Heinrich