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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



Serbian Army Trains More with NATO than Russia

Although little-reported in local media, Serbia conducted 206 joint military activities with US and NATO in 2016 but only 17 with Russia, the defence ministry said.

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Turkey: US criticism over Syria operations unacceptable

Ankara has summoned the US ambassador over Washington's criticism of Turkey's incursion into northern Syria.

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Carter Calls on Turkey to 'Stay Focused' on Islamic State

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has called on Turkey to "stay focused'' on the fight against Islamic State and not to engage with U.S.-allied Kurdish forces also battling the terror group in Syria.

Read more: Carter Calls on Turkey to 'Stay Focused' on Islamic State

Montenegro Mulls Sending More Police to Kosovo Border

Montenegro does not expect clashes as Kosovo prepares to vote on a controversial border demarcation agreement between the two countries, but police are ready to tighten up security if needed.

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NATO Deputy Secretary General to visit Romania

The NATO Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow will visit Romania on Monday 29 August 2016.

During this visit, Ambassador Vershbow will participate to the Annual meeting of Romanian Diplomacy.

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Bulgaria Will not Accept Refugees Returned from Europe

Bulgaria will not accept refugees returned from Western Europe unless a re-admission agreement with Turkey, part of the EU-Turkey refugee deal, comes into effect, Bulgaria's PM announced on Sunday (27.08.2016).

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said Bulgaria will not accept migrants returned from Western Europe without a deal with Turkey - adding that he had informed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders of Bulgaria's standpoint at a meeting in Berlin last Saturday.

“Over two million migrants are coming from Aleppo [in Syria], and Turkey is already at the end of its resources. I have firmly told European colleagues that we will not accept [back any] migrants if there is no readmission agreement with Turkey,” Borissov said.

“I told them directly – do you imagine me waiting at the airport for you to send me tens of thousands of refugees? I will simply not let the planes in,” he added.

Borissov met the German Chancellor and the Prime Ministers of Austria, Croatia and Slovenia in Berlin to discuss the European refugee crisis.

A day earlier, Borissov in Istanbul met the Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, and the President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Yildirim used the talks to send a message to Europe via Borissov, warning that unless the EU guarantees visa-free travel for Turkish citizens by the end of October, Ankara may back out of its agreement to help stem the flow of migrants to the European bloc.

“The EU and Turkey have to show great efforts  for the [EU-Turkey migrant] agreement to enter into force until October and to find steps to make it work after that. Because, good or bad, the agreement works,” Borissov noted.

He noted that while Turkey cannot join the EU in the short term, the visa regime should be eased for Turkish public servants and business people.

According to the so-called Dublin regulation, the first EU member state that a migrant enters and registers in is responsible for handling his or her application for asylum.

This means that Western European countries such as Germany, Austria and Sweden have the right to return refugees to Bulgaria who registered there having entered from Turkey.

At the meeting with Merkel and his colleagues from Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, Borissov also called for more European solidarity with Bulgaria in terms of protection of the EU's external border.

He demanded more technical equipment from the EU in the form of helicopters and patrol boat for the needs of the border authorities. 

Source: CIBAL/Bulgarian media

Read more: Bulgaria Will not Accept Refugees Returned from Europe

Turkish-Backed Syrian Rebels Advance Toward Syrian Kurds at Manbij

Turkey's army and an allied Syrian rebel group called Sultan Murad were advancing toward the Syrian-Kurdish held city of Manbij on August 28, 2016 as fighting between the sides escalated in northern Syria.

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Romania Denies Accepting US Nuclear Weapons

Bucharest officials have denied media reports that US nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey are being transferred to Romania after the coup attempt against the Ankara government.

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Serbian Tycoon Accuses Soros of Attempted Subversion

Continuing a campaign against NGOs and independent media, the owner of pro-government TV Pink wrote to George Soros, saying the billionaire’s “small donations” will not destabilise the country.

Read more: Serbian Tycoon Accuses Soros of Attempted Subversion

Serbia to Host Two Military Drills with Russia

Serbia will host Russian Army troops in two separate exercises in September and October - although its most frequent military training cooperation is still with the US.

Read more: Serbia to Host Two Military Drills with Russia

Корабли Черноморского флота направились в Крым на учения тыловиков

Учения по материально-техническому обеспечению войск стартовали 15 августа на территории Южного военного округа в преддверии стратегического командно-штабного учения "Кавказ-2016".

Read more: Корабли Черноморского флота направились в Крым на учения тыловиков

US moves nuclear weapons from Turkey to Romania

EXCLUSIVE/ Two independent sources told EurActiv.com that the US has started transferring nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey to Romania, against the background of worsening relations between Washington and Ankara .

Read more: US moves nuclear weapons from Turkey to Romania

Глава Сербии отказался поддержать санкции против РФ

 БЕЛГРАД, 17 Августа 2016, 07:45 — REGNUM  Сербия не будет поддерживать антироссийские санкции по требованию Евросоюза, заявил сербский лидер Томислав Николич в ходе встречи с вице-президентом США Джозефом Байденом, сообщает пресс-служба президента Сербии.

Read more: Глава Сербии отказался поддержать санкции против РФ

Turkish military attaches, diplomats run from post-coup inquiry

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said two Turkish military attaches in Greece (a naval and an army officer) had fled by car and ferry to Italy and a military attaché in Kuwait also tried to escape through Saudi Arabia, but had been sent back. He also said two generals in Afghanistan had been caught in Dubai and returned to Turkey.

Read more: Turkish military attaches, diplomats run from post-coup inquiry

Turkish NATO Admiral requests asylum in the United States

A Turkish Rear Admiral posted in a NATO Norfolk, Virginia has requested asylum to the United States (11.08.2016).

Read more: Turkish NATO Admiral requests asylum in the United States

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