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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



Turkish General Staff: Land borders protected by more than 50,000 soldiers

Turkey's land borders are protected by 51,107 soldiers in 317 guardhouses, according to a written statement published on the website of the General Staff on 19.08.2013.

Read more: Turkish General Staff: Land borders protected by more than 50,000 soldiers

Montenegrins Divided on NATO Membership: Survey

Forty per cent of Montenegrins want the country to join NATO while 39 per cent are against membership of the Western military alliance, a survey has suggested.

If a referendum was held immediately on whether Montenegrins want their country to join NATO, the outcome would be uncertain, suggested a survey conducted last month by Ipsos Strategic Marketing.

The survey, which sampled the views of 1,029 people, suggested that 11 per cent remain undecided on the issue.

Marko Uljarevic from Ipsos Strategic Marketing said that support for NATO membership was growing.

"If you look at [comparisons with] last year, support is fairly stable,” Uljarevic said.

"However if we compare it to 2009, the percentage of people who support NATO integration has significantly increased," Uljarevic told Montenegro’s Vijesti daily newspaper on Monday.

A survey in February 2009 suggested that 31 per cent supported NATO membership.

Montenegro was granted a 'membership action plan' by NATO in 2009, moving the country a step closer to joining the alliance.

Soon afterwards, it sent its first soldiers to participate in NATO peacekeeping missions. Montenegro currently has 27 troops serving with the alliance's mission in Afghanistan, according to the NATO website.

The country hopes to become a member at NATO’s next summit in 2014.

CIBAL

Read more: Montenegrins Divided on NATO Membership: Survey

Hungarian Rightist's Tirade Angers Romania

Romania has responded energetically to a Hungarian far-right politician’s inflammatory statement about the position of Romania's ethnic Hungarians.

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Two Turkish Airlines pilots kidnapped in Lebanese capital

A group of armed men kidnapped two Turkish Airlines (THY) pilots on Beirut’s airport road, Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told press on early Friday.

Read more: Two Turkish Airlines pilots kidnapped in Lebanese capital

Permanent Kosovo-Serbia Border Crossings Due in 2014

Pristina and Belgrade have agreed to set up permanent border checkpoints during the first part of next year as part of their deal to normalise relations.

Read more: Permanent Kosovo-Serbia Border Crossings Due in 2014

Report: Proposed cancellation of Koç's Milgem contract approved by Erdoğan

A proposal drafted by the Prime Ministry Monitoring Council (BTK) which stated that part of the national warship project (Milgem) contract, awarded to Koç Holding subsidiary RMK Marine for $2.5 billion in January, was not in the public interest is reported to have been approved by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

According to a report in the Hürriyet daily on 07.08.2013, the deal came under scrutiny by the BTK in July after allegations were made by another bidder of unfair tender practices, resulting in the BTK proposing to hold another tender in which there would be five bidders. The BTK proposal was reportedly sent to and signed by Erdoğan. However, the final decision regarding the Milgem deal will be made by the Defense Industry Executive Committee.

After the specifications were submitted, only two companies, RMK Marine and Dearsan, were invited to the official tender in January, which was carried out by the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM). The action was not welcomed by other companies interested in the contract, particularly Sedef Gemi İnşaat A.Ş., which filed a complaint with the Prime Ministry Inspection Board in June.

RMK Marine was slated to build six domestically designed corvettes for the navy in an effort to increase the Turkish military's naval power and turn it into a global actor. Construction of the first Milgem project ship, the Heybeliada, was completed in 2008, while the second ship, the Büyükada, is still under way.

Source: Turkish media

 

Read more: Report: Proposed cancellation of Koç's Milgem contract approved by Erdoğan

Vulnerabilities and threats to national security according to the chairman of Parliamentary Committee for SRI Georgian Pop

Risks and menaces to the national security are of two kinds: those from abroad, due to the expansion of the globalization and the interdependence of the states, such as the terrorism networks, the cross-border organized crime, the weapon trafficking etc., or the classic ones like the espionage, and those at home, the most visible being the corruption of the public administration, the tax evasion, but also the fragility of the healthcare system, the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) activity control Georgian Pop told an interview with the Bursa daily. 

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Greece arrests German man on suspicion of spying for Turkey

Police say 72-year-old admits photographing military buildings on island of Chios for people he believes are Turkish nationals.

Read more: Greece arrests German man on suspicion of spying for Turkey

PYD leader: Turkey continues to support al-Nusra Front against Kurds

Turkey continues to provide support for al-Qaeda-linked groups fighting Kurds in Syria's north despite statements by Turkish officials that such groups are a threat to Turkey's security as well, the leader of the most powerful Syrian Kurdish group has said.
Saleh Muslim, who heads the Democratic Union Party (PYD), said in remarks published on 04.08.2013 that witnesses on both sides of the border have confirmed that there was a transfer of weapons and ammunition from Turkey to Syria through the Karkamış border gate in the southeastern province of Gaziantep on the night of Aug. 2. He said the weapons were then transported to Arab villages near the Kurdish-populated town of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab in Arabic) apparently in preparation for attacks on Kobani.

Read more: PYD leader: Turkey continues to support al-Nusra Front against Kurds

All force commanders replaced as Turkey shapes new army echelon

All force commanders including Gendarmerie Commander Bekir Kalyoncu, who was expected to be appointed as the new Turkish Land Forces commander in accordance with the military tradition, have been replaced.

Read more: All force commanders replaced as Turkey shapes new army echelon

Serbian Army Appoints Military Clerics

Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim clerics in uniform will soon start to serve the spiritual needs of Serbian soldiers, officers and other army employees.

Read more: Serbian Army Appoints Military Clerics

Greece to Receive U.S. CHINOOK Choppers

Greece is expected to receive 10-12 Chinook helicopters from the USA after the visits of Defense Minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos, (end of month) and Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, in Washington on August 8.

Read more: Greece to Receive U.S. CHINOOK Choppers

Samaras’ Visit Marks USA’s Support to Greece

In an interview with the Greek Service of Voice of America, the multimedia international broadcasting service, William Antholis, the Greek-American director of Brookings, which is considered one of the major think tanks in Washington, said that President Obama has been throughout the ongoing Greek crisis, an advocate of a mild reform effort in order to bring development, in contrast with the policy of austerity promoted by Germany.

Read more: Samaras’ Visit Marks USA’s Support to Greece

Turkish deputy PM: Gas feud may raise Cyprus partition option

According to AP Turkey's deputy prime minister Beşir Atalay has said Cyprus' formal partition may come up as an option in renewed talks to reunify the ethnically divided island if Greek Cypriots don't share newfound gas deposits with Turkish Cypriots.

Read more: Turkish deputy PM: Gas feud may raise Cyprus partition option

U.S. company KBR confirms being awarded contract to build missile defence system facilities at Deveselu, Romania

U.S. company Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc. (KBR) confirmed it has been awarded a $134 million contract by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District to construct the facilities necessary to support Europe's first land-based ballistic missile defence system at Romania's Deveselu Air Base, Business Wire reports.

Read more: U.S. company KBR confirms being awarded contract to build missile defence system facilities at...

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