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CrisisWatch Database

Region / country

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1419 results found
Items 1 - 50 of 1419 First   Previous   Next   Last

Moldova

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Country went to polls for parliamentary election 30 Nov; preliminary results showed pro-EU parties gained almost half of votes.

Cyprus

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

New tensions followed Turkey’s deployment in Oct of warship to shadow offshore rig chartered to consortium drilling for hydrocarbons off Republic of Cyprus’ SE coast. Republic of Cyprus President Anastasiades 8 Nov accused Turkey of “provocative actions”, said it was hindering Cyprus peace talks and compromising security in east Mediterranean. Turkish navy continues to provide support and protection to research vessel, also keeping ship hired by Cyprus under surveillance. Reunification talks between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots remain suspended. UNSG’s special adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, after meeting leaders from both sides, 6 Nov said he remained “realistically optimistic” that sides could set aside hydrocarbons row, continue negotiations. But Republic of Cyprus govt said no conclusion reached on how talks could resume, stated cessation of Turkish “provocations” precondition for returning to table; Turkish Cypriot leader Eroğlu said withdrawal of Turkish research vessel from Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone “out of question”. UN, UK and some others trying to split hydrocarbon issue off from main issue of talks.

Ukraine

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

NATO commander Gen Breedlove said alliance saw Russian military equipment entering Ukraine early Nov; Moscow denied claims. NATO chief Stoltenberg urged Russia to pull back forces. U.S. called meeting of UNSC 12 Nov, UN Asst SG warned of possible return to full-scale fighting. Ukrainian defence minister said govt forces redeploying in preparation for possible offensive by separatists. Separatists in eastern Ukraine held elections for head of state and legislature 2 Nov in self-proclaimed people’s republics in Donetsk and Luhansk, reported high turnout, victories for current leaders; Kyiv and West said polls illegitimate. Russia said it respected outcome. Western leaders rebuked Russian intervention in Ukraine at G20 summit in Australia mid-Nov. Ukrainian PM Yatsenyuk 20 Nov accused Russia of “deliberately seeking to provoke a large-scale war”. Fighting continues at Donetsk airport and near Luhansk city; heavy artillery fire reported on outskirts of Donetsk city early Nov. Large areas of the city temporarily without water after damage to infrastructure. President Poroshenko signed decree mid-Nov withdrawing all govt service funding to rebel-held territory. UN 18 Nov reported almost 1,000 people killed in Ukraine conflict since 5 Sept ceasefire, with both sides violating truce; real figure probably higher. UN describe breakdown of law and order in rebel-held areas, allegations of abuses by rebel and govt forces. Russia late Nov admitted international sanctions hurting its economy, exacerbating downturn.

Georgia

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

PM Garibashvili 4 Nov said Western-leaning defence minister Irakli Alasania dismissed following Alasania’s accusation that recent arrest of defence ministry and general staff as part of govt inquiry into corruption politically motivated; FM and European minister resigned in protest, Alasania’s party quit ruling Georgian Dream coalition leaving coalition without parliamentary majority. President Margvelashvili 14 Nov urged lawmakers to “unite on the path toward Europe”. Some 30,000 opposition supporters rallied 15 Nov against govt’s Russia policy, creeping annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia separatist regions; Tbilisi criticised 24 Nov “strategic partnership” deal signed between Russia and Abkhazia as attempt at annexation by Moscow, asked UNSC to review legality of treaty.Former President Saakashvili charged with abuse of office 27 Nov in connection with 2006 murder of banker Sandro Girgvliani.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Rights crackdown continued: second lawyer barred from defending jailed activist Leyla Yunis early Nov; blogger Mehman Huseynov detained at Baku airport 10 Nov, prevented from leaving country; rights activist Elcin Namazov sentenced to fifteen days’ jail 25 Nov for disobeying police. OSCE 10 Nov called on authorities to cease repression of independent media and rights activists. Thousands of opposition supporters 9 Nov protested against govt, demanded release of political prisoners, called for end to President Aliyev’s rule. Former deputy defence minister Mehman Salimov arrested late Nov on corruption charges. Iranian President Rouhani mid-Nov visited Baku, met with President Aliyev to discuss bilateral relations.

Armenia

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Opposition supporters 5 Nov rallied in Yerevan to mark anniversary of arrest of nationalist Tsegakron party leader Shand Harutiunian and supporters, demanded their release; eight protesters reportedly detained. PM Abrahamian 7 Nov said several ministries to be merged into new Interior Ministry. EU 4 Nov pledged €140-170mn over next three years for justice reforms, public administration and private sector investment.

Turkey

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Month saw some positive momentum from both sides in Turkey-PKK peace process, welcome shift from Oct upsurge in violence and clashes between army and Kurdish PKK fighters. Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) 13 Nov said roadmap was being discussed and new mechanisms could be established for process; gave no details. Pro-Kurdish national movement Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP’s) deputy co-chair 15 Nov said jailed PKK leader Öcalan could call on PKK to abandon their weapons in May or April 2015 if the sides can take “simultaneous mutual steps in the peace process”. Early Nov survey found 58% of Turkey’s population said dialogue between govt and PKK should continue. In volatile mainly Kurdish SE, off-duty soldier shot dead by two PKK members in Diyarbakır 29 Oct; alleged “spy” within PKK’s youth arm, YDG-H, executed in Şırnak’s Cizre province 7 Nov. Security Forces 12 Nov said PKK elements had fired on military outpost in Uludere, Şırnak. Masked group from YDG-H 16 Nov attacked two public buses in Diyarbakır; another group clashed with police in Cizre province, Şırnak. Govt continues to push for no-fly zone and security zone inside Syria; President Erdoğan 19 Nov reiterated that Turkey would not join an international anti-jihadi coalition unless it also targets Assad regime alongside jihadis and establishes safe zone; U.S. still reluctant on committing to these goals.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Following Oct elections, Party of Democratic Action (SDA), Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and Democratic Front (DF) 19 Nov signed agreement to govern federation entity; seeking deal with party from Republika Srpska entity to form state-level govt. Lower house of state parliament expected to be inaugurated 4 Dec. New tri-partite presidency took office 17 Nov. Germany and UK FMs 5 Nov sent open letter to people of Bosnia outlining initiative to push for progress on EU membership if govt signs up to reforms. EU foreign policy chief Mogherini 17 Nov reported new EU effort to promote reforms.

Kosovo

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

President Jahjaga 19 Nov reported two biggest parties, PM Thaci’s Democratic Party (PDK) and opposition Democratic League (LDK), agreed in principle to form coalition govt, bringing end to five-month deadlock since June elections. Deal came after opposition agreed to relinquish claim to post of parliament speaker. Jahjaga announced parliament session to install new govt scheduled 8 Dec. EU foreign policy chief Mogherini appointed independent expert to investigate allegations of corruption in EULEX mission. Joint report by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Kosovo and Belgrade-based Center for Transparency, Research and Accountability highlighted failure to fully implement most accords reached in Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, called for action to revive momentum; Mogherini also called for action, resumption of dialogue.

Serbia

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

EU late Oct ended sanctions on former Yugoslav President Milosovic, his family, other former Serbian officials. Albanian PM visited Belgrade 22 Oct for talks on situation of ethnic Albanians in Serbia areas bordering Kosovo, Macedonia.

Turkey

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Month saw govt-PKK peace process threatened by most violent street protests in decades, worst army-PKK clashes since March 2013 ceasefire: tensions followed advances by Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL) militants toward Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani (see Syria)(see ; Turkish troops prohibited PKK fighters from crossing border to aid fellow Kurds, fuelling violent clashes between protesters, police and Islamic groups in south-eastern Kurdish majority areas and major cities; at least 35 killed, military intervened to quell violence. PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan 2 October warned govt-PKK peace process would be derailed if IS took Kobani; parliament same day voted to expand authority to intervene militarily in Syria and Iraq, allow foreign troops to operate on Turkish soil; later ruled out any unilateral military involvement. Turkey 29 Oct allowed ten Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters to cross Turkish border into Syria; further contingent of 150 peshmerga troops to reinforce Kurds in Kobani; Syrian regime denounced move as violation of sovereignty.  Several deadly clashes between PKK, army including: two police killed 9 Oct in Kurdish town of Bingöl; army airstrikes 13 Oct hit PKK positions near Hakkari following three days of PKK rocket fire; three PKK militants killed in clash with army near Kars after setting fire to power plant; three soldiers killed 25 Oct in Yüksekova by masked gunmen; body of executed pro-govt Kurdish militiaman found in Bitlis next day. President Erdogan 31 Oct said Kurdish peace talks to continue despite unrest. Turkey 16 Oct failed to win non-permanent UNSC seat, seen by observers as sign of growing international isolation.

Cyprus

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

After Italian-South Korean SAIPEM consortium began drilling for hydrocarbons off Cyprus coast, Turkey deployed warship to shadow activities; Cypriot FM Ionannis Kasoulides 6 Oct warned Turkish action would halt peace talks. Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades 7 Oct announced unity talks suspended indefinitely in response to Turkey sending seismic survey ships to search for gas in disputed waters; Cypriot National Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides 20 Oct said Turkish ship Barbaros entered Cypriot EEZ; EU 24 Oct urged Turkey to show restraint; tripartite meeting between Cyprus, Greece and Egypt 29 Oct called for end to Turkish gas survey in Cypriot waters. Turkish National Security Council 31 Oct decided to keep Barbaros in disputed waters.

Ukraine

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Parliamentary elections held 26 Oct: pro-EU parties won significant majority. President Poroshenko’s bloc ended slightly behind PM Yatsenyuk’s bloc, third reformist group also did well. Poroshenko’s relatively poor showing seen as rebuke for failure to push ahead with reforms, connect with country. Govt mid-Oct passed initial package of anti-corruption laws, Lustration Law. Constant ceasefire violations in east since Sept ceasefire agreement: continued shelling, skirmishes around Donetsk airport, artillery strikes on outskirts of Donetsk city; armed clashes reported in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukraine, Russia and EU 30 Oct signed deal on resumption of Russian natural gas shipments to Ukraine, EU acted as guarantor for Kiev.

Georgia

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

PM Garibashbili 16 Oct said govt attempts to improve bilateral relations with Moscow only achieved progress in economic sector, political relations not yet normalised. Draft law on integration between Abkhazia and Russia published 13 Oct; would give Russia complete control over key govt functions including military, security, borders, foreign policy. Greeted with rare criticism by Abkhaz politicians. Prosecutor’s office 28 Oct said five current and former senior military officials arrested for misuse of state funds. Former Defence Minister Bacho Akhalaia sentenced to 7.5 years imprisonment for torture; U.S. 23 Oct reiterated concern over prosecution of ex-Georgian officials.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Rights crackdown continued: libel charges filed against journalist Khadija Ismayilova, prevented from leaving country 11 Oct; pretrial detention of rights activist Leyla Yunus extended 24 Oct to 28 Feb, lawyer 29 Oct reportedly barred from representing her, U.S. State Dept 16 Oct expressed concern over her health; journalist Khalid Garayev 30 Oct sentenced to 25 day detention on vulgarity charge. Rasul Jafarov, rights activist detained since 2 Aug, reportedly requested presidential pardon 16 Oct. U.S. State Dept 11 Oct said closure of NGO IREX in Azerbaijan would hurt democracy promotion efforts. CoE Thorbjørn Jagland 14 Oct called on authorities to release Ilgar Mammadov, detained since March 2013 for organising unrest. CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks 24 Oct urged govt to stop targeting human rights defenders. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) 15 Oct expressed deep concern over rights record, demanded early review of membership status by Jan 2015. Four opposition activists pardoned and released by President Aliyev; welcomed by EU as “positive first step”. Thousands of National Council of Democratic Forces opposition supporters rallied in Baku 12 Oct demanded govt resignation, end to repression of human rights defenders, closer integration with EU. Cooperation plan signed 13 Oct between Russian and Azerbaijani defence ministries.

Armenia

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

President Sarkisian 10 Oct signed agreement to join Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on 1 Jan 2015. Thousands same day rallied in Yerevan in anti-govt protests. Tens of thousands 24 Oct continued protests in Yerevan, called for early elections; early vote dismissed 27 Oct by PM Abrahamian. President Sarkisian 17 Oct delayed decision on constitutional reform citing need for additional discussion with political groups. CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks 9 Oct said efforts needed on gender equality, independence of judiciary. Large Russian military drills held 13-19 Oct at Kamkhud, Alagyaz training grounds; head of Russian air force 15 Oct said Russia will expand capacity of Erebuni airbase.

Kosovo

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Political crisis over nomination of Assembly speaker continued: Assembly postponed early Oct following failure of ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo and opposition coalition to reach agreement. Court of Appeal 1 Oct rejected detention of 11 terrorism suspects including Imam of Pristina Grand Mosque; supporters say cleric arrested for political reasons. Calls for investigation following allegations of corruption in EU rule of law mission.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

General and presidential elections held 12 Oct in Republika Srpska and Federal entity. Electoral Commission 13 Oct announced preliminary presidential vote results: Bakir Izetbegović from Party of Democratic Action (SDA) elected Bosniak member of tripartite presidency; Dragan Čović of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) elected Croat member; Mladen Ivanić of Party for Democratic Progress (PDP) elected Serb member. Initial results showed SDA with 28% majority in Federation entity. In Republika Srpska the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) won 33%, main rival Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) won approx 27% of vote; parties considering possible coalition partners.

Turkey

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Amid criticism of Turkey’s “laissez-faire” attitude toward militant group Islamic State (IS), President Erdogan 22 Sept said IS “terrorist organisation”, but also symptom of bigger governance problems in Baghdad and Damascus; also pushed for no-fly zone in northern Syria. Turkey still not part of U.S.-led anti-IS coalition, though parliament early Oct to consider cross-border operations, use of Turkish soil by foreign militaries; authorities tightened border control to stop jihadi crossings, 29 Sept deployed tanks to border with Syria’s Kobani region. IS 20 Sept released 49 Turkish diplomatic staff abducted from Mosul consulate in June, including 3 Iraqi nationals, possibly in prisoner exchange with Syrian pro-Turkish group Liwa al-Tawhid. Hundreds of PKK fighters continued crossing into Syria and Iraq; PKK military leader Murat Karayılan 22 Sept accused Turkey of collaborating with IS, said govt-PKK settlement process “meaningless”. PKK militants early Sept set fire to over 17 schools in protest at govt closing down illegal all-Kurdish schools in south. 130,000 Syrian Kurdish refugees 19-22 Sept crossed into Turkey; total 1.5mn refugees to date; 3,000 protested in Istanbul 21 Sept in solidarity with Syrian Kurds; clashes reported between security forces, Turkish Kurds sympathetic to refugees on border same day. Scores of police investigators detained 1 Sept over alleged attempt to overthrow govt through corruption charges against Erdogan.

Cyprus

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

UN special adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide 17 Sept met with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, secured commitment to twice-monthly “structured negotiations”; UNSG Ban 27 Sept met with Eroglu, urged leaders to bridge differences. Turkish President Erdogan 1 Sept visited Turkish Cyprus, prompting protests, Cypriot authorities said visit illegal.

Ukraine

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged
President Poroshenko 5 Sept agreed to ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in east following heavy losses of personnel and equipment to regular Russian forces in late Aug. Ukrainian military commanders admitted privately troops unable to withstand direct attack by Russian forces. Ukrainian parliament 16 Sept passed law allowing degree of self-govt for breakaway regions, separatists claimed ceasefire and subsequent agreements amounted to de facto recognition of independence; moves caused concern among Ukrainian, international officials who fear agreement tantamount to creation of new frozen conflict. International observers noted agreement left separatists in control of several hundred kms of Ukrainian-Russian border. Worst post-ceasefire violence around Donetsk airport began 29 Sept, at least 12 killed. Dutch investigators 9 Sept released preliminary report on MH17 plane crash, concluded plane brought down by “high-energy objects". Parliament 16 Sept ratified Association Agreement with EU and 17 Sept passed lustration law, awaiting presidential signature.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged
Rights crackdown continued: U.S. citizen and former deputy chief of pro-opposition youth group Yeni Fikir deported 12 Sept, U.S. State Department expressed concern; Baku office of NGO IREX raided 5 Sept by Azerbaijani security officials; UN Human Rights team 17 Sept prevented from visiting govt detention centers while investigating complaints of torture. Criticism over rights record increased: CoE Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks 8 Sept criticised authorities over deteriorating human rights conditions; European Parliament 18 Sept adopted resolution condemning persecution of human rights defenders, calling for targeted sanctions, dismissed by Baku as “completely biased”; U.S. President Obama 23 Sept criticised crackdown on NGOs; Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) head 22 Sept said Azerbaijan might be suspended from initiative following investigation. CoE Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) President Anne Brasseur visited 23-25 Sept, called for broad dialogue between authorities, political actors, civil society. Authorities 23 Sept arrested 26 suspected of joining militants in Syria and Pakistan. Turkish President Erdogan PM Davutoğlu visited 2 Sept and 19 Sept respectively; joint Azerbaijan-Turkey military exercise held 13-20 Sept.

Armenia

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Yerevan still moving closer to Russia than EU: Russian President Putin 1 Sept indicated Treaty of Accession of Armenia to Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to be signed at next meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council at presidential level. Armenian FM Nalbandian 9 Sept said Nagorno-Karabakh no obstacle for country’s entry in Moscow-led initiative; 20 Sept said developing relations with EU cannot be at expense of relations with Russia, 21 Sept entry in EEU no threat to Armenia’s independence. EU official 24 Sept asked for clarification from Armenian govt over obligations of membership of Russia-led Customs Union. Armenian Defence Minister Seyran Ohanyan 25 Sept met with Georgian counterpart, discussed military cooperation. 2,000 members of opposition protested 25 Sept in Abovian, further rallies announced ahead of joint anti-govt rally in Yerevan scheduled 10 Oct.

Georgia

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Court 19 Sept seized properties of former President Saakashvili and his relatives. U.S. Defense Sec 7 Sept said Russia’s “blatant aggression” in Ukraine made U.S. and Georgia determined to build stronger military ties.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged
16 alleged Islamic radicals suspected of fighting in Iraq and Syria, and recruiting and funding Bosnian nationals to join Islamic militants, detained 3 Sept. IMF 19 Sept said not to disperse next €380mn tranche of aid program until govt implements agreed economic reform.

Kosovo

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

15 influential Muslim leaders arrested 17 Sept across Kosovo in crackdown targeting alleged recruiting network for IS militants and al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria. Shefqet Krasniqi, imam of Pristina Grand Mosque, and several other imams arrested; hardline Islamic Movement Unify party described arrests as politically motivated.

Ukraine

  |  1 Sep 2014

Deteriorated

Major escalation in fighting between govt forces and pro-Russian rebels as army attempted to encircle Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia stepped up support for rebels including reportedly deploying Russian troops inside Ukraine; NATO late month estimated over 1,000 Russian troops in Ukraine, 20,000 near border. UN 29 Aug estimated 2,593 killed since April, more than half in past month alone. Rebel setbacks accompanied by 14 Aug resignation of original leadership: Donetsk military leader Igor Girkin-Strelkov, Donetsk “prime minister” Alexander Borodai resigned; Luhansk rebel chief Valery Bolotov said temporarily relinquishing command. Russia 22 Aug sent humanitarian aid convoy into Ukraine without govt’s permission after complaining of delays during days of inspections on border. NATO SG Rasmussen 22 Aug said Russian troops directly attacked Ukrainian forces with “artillery support” both across border and from within Ukraine; Ukrainian govt 25 Aug accused Russian column of armored vehicles of crossing border, engaging in fighting. Russian, Ukrainian presidents 26 Aug held inconclusive talks in Minsk. Russian President Putin 29 Aug publicly congratulated rebel forces on latest offensive. Ukraine President Poroshenko 25 Aug dissolved parliament, called early elections for 28 Oct.

Kosovo

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

40 alleged Islamic radicals suspected of fighting in Iraq and Syria arrested 11 Aug in Kosovo; weapons, ammunition, and explosives seized at 60 locations including makeshift mosques. Kosovo's parliament expected to pass legislation soon banning citizens from joining foreign insurgencies.

Serbia

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

PM Vucic 14 Aug suggested legislation criminalising participation in foreign war following reports Serbian mercenaries fighting in Ukraine. Vucic 22 Aug said Serbia will not impose sanctions on Russia after EU and U.S. imposed sanctions over Ukraine crisis.

Armenia

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Yazidis demonstrated in Yerevan 14 Aug, called for govt to help Yazidis under siege in northern Iraq; deputy Chief of Staff pledged humanitarian aid. Minister of Economy Garegin Melkonyan 15 Aug said no import restrictions on U.S., EU goods after Armenia joins Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union in Oct. President Sarkisian 25 Aug denied reports govt pressured to join Union. Georgia PM Irakli Garibashvili met Armenian PM Abrahamyan in Yerevan, discussed bilateral cooperation. FM Nalbandyan visited Turkey 28 Aug for inauguration of Turkish President Erdogan.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Repression of rights activists continued including: activist Rasul Jafarov detained 2 Aug on tax evasion and other charges; activist Intigam Aliyev arrested 8 Aug on same charges, reportedly jailed for 3 months. Arif Yunus sentenced to 3 months pre-trial detention following 30 July arrest on treason and fraud charges. Rights activist Ilgar Nasibov attacked 22 Aug by unknown assailants in Nakhichevan exclave; attack condemned by U.S. 28 Aug. Opposition journalist Seymur Hazi detained 29 Aug on hooliganism charges. Criticism over rights record dismissed 28 Aug by Azerbaijani PACE delegate Elkhan Suleymanov. HRW 14 Aug called for Azerbaijan’s suspension from Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Iran late month accused Azerbaijan of being base of Israeli drone Iran downed 26 Aug.

Moldova

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Tensions over Transdniester continued: Russia 4 Aug accused Moldova and Ukraine of trying to block Russia's access to its troops in Transdniester; Moldova govt 5 Aug called on Moscow to withdraw troops and weapons from region. Pro-Russian separatists in Transdniester 7 Aug put their security forces on alert citing alleged military threat from Ukraine and Moldova. Natural-gas pipeline from Romania reducing country’s reliance on Russia completed 27 Aug.

Turkey

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Former PM Erdoğan sworn in as 1st popularly elected president 28 Aug after winning 10 Aug 1st round of presidential elections with 52% of vote; opposition MHP-CHP coalition candidate Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu claimed 38%; pro-Kurdish HDP candidate Selahattin Demirtaş secured impressive 10%, reflecting sympathizers beyond Kurdish constituency. Former FM Ahmet Davutoğlu declared new PM 22 Aug; 29 Aug announced govt. Erdoğan likely to maintain tight control over Turkey and push for executive presidency model. Govt-PKK peace process moved forward: HDP delegations visited jailed PKK chief Abdullah Ocalan and northern Iraq PKK HQ; Deputy PM Beşir Atalay 19 Aug said govt ready to send delegations to northern Iraq, finish roadmap by end of Sept. Hard-line exiled PKK leader Duran Kalkan called for radical youth to support peace process. Despite progress, 1 Turkish lieutenant killed 19 Aug in army-PKK clash near Van; 1 civilian killed during protests near Diyarbakir same day. As hundreds of PKK fighters joined Syrian PYD affiliate and Iraqi Peshmergas in battle against IS, PKK commander 22 Aug called for EU military support. Govt reportedly toughened border control to prevent European jihadi infiltrations into Syria. Syrian refugees 11 Aug killed Turkish landlord in Gaziantep, prompting unrest and attacks on Syrian businesses and refugees, including in Istanbul.

Cyprus

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

No progress in reunification talks: negotiators met 25 Aug, discussed “methodology”; Republic of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades 28 Aug requested personal involvement of Turkish President Erdoğan. Former Norwegian FM Espen Barth Eide appointed special advisor to UNSG on Cyprus 22 Aug, days after Norwegian Major General Kristin Lund appointed new chief of UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

Georgia

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Georgian authorities 1 Aug ordered pre-trial detention of former president Saakashvili, 14 Aug added him to country’s wanted list; additional charges of organizing assault on political opponent and embezzlement announced 5 and 13 Aug respectively. PM Garibashvili 11 Aug said investigation part of “efforts to end impunity” following letter from 4 U.S. senators expressing concern. U.S. VP Biden 22 Aug expressed support for Georgia’s bid to join NATO. Presidential elections in Abkhazia held 24 Aug after turbulent and controversial election campaign; opposition leader Raul Khadzhimba won and announced need to strengthen union with Russia. Rallies in support of Iraq’s Yazidis held 13 Aug.

Cyprus

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Despite UNSG Ban’s 1 July call to intensify efforts toward comprehensive settlement, no tangible progress as island marked 40 years of physical partition: Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu, Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades met 7 and 24 July; Eroğlu 7 July submitted 5-step roadmap for negotiations including referendum in 2014; Republic of Cyprus spokesman Christodoulides 16 July said roadmap unacceptable, contradicts UN framework; Anastasiades 13 July said country opposed to partition. Turkish PM Erdoğan 15 July, President Gül 20 July reiterated Turkey’s commitment to political Cyprus solution. Greek Cypriot group 14 July filed war crimes case against Turkey before ICC.

Turkey

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Govt-PKK peace process inched forward: new bill approved by parliament 10 July and President Gül 15 July gives state negotiators immunity, allows use of third-parties in talks, mentions work underway for militants’ rehabilitation. Jailed PKK leader Öcalan 10 July said legal framework “positive start to establishing a great peace”. Hundreds of PKK fighters reported crossing into Syria mid-July to join armed wing Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in battle against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) jihadists around Kobane. 3 Turkish soldiers, 2 YPG killed near Ceylanpinar on Syria border 21 July; Turkish army said militants tried to enter illegally, PKK said they were ambushed. Turkish soldiers 19 July shot dead Syrian Kurdish man crossing intoŞırnak province from Syria. Tensions in southeast from Syrian spillover worsened with anti-refugee protests and attacks on Syrian businesses in Kahramanmaraş and Adana provinces 13-14 July. PM Erdoğan 17 July accused Israel of attempting “systematic genocide” in Gaza, called for ICC trial; FM Davutoğlu 18 July met with Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Abbas, 25 July with Hamas leader Meshaal, 26 July attended Paris multilateral talks. Israel 18 July reduced diplomatic delegation in Turkey amid growing protests. Govt media ban on June kidnapping of 49 Turkish diplomatic staff and family in Mosul by IS continued. Dozens of police officers and chiefs detained late July over alleged spying on PM Erdoğan and entourage, arrests seen as political move ahead of 10 Aug presidential elections.

Kosovo

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Political crisis sparked by June elections continued: newly-formed opposition bloc 17 July elected head of Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Isa Mustafa Speaker of Parliament after Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) deputies had declared parliamentary session adjourned; PM Hashim Thaci filed complaint with Constitutional Court. No progress achieved in EU-led talks 23 July on controversial Mitrovica bridge. EU investigative team 29 July said it found evidence of crimes against humanity committed by high-ranking Kosovo Liberation Army members during and after 1990s war with Serbia.

Armenia

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

PM Abramian 17 July said Armenia to sign agreement joining Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union in Oct. Country’s ascension to Moscow-led Customs Union put off several times over Armenian trade provision objections; sceptics say signing may not happen at all. OSCE representative on media freedom late July expressed concern over 26 June court ruling forcing media outlets to disclose sources. Prominent Armenian-Russian businessman arrested mid-July in Russia, claimed charges politically motivated.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

FM Elmar Mammadyarov 1-3 July visited China for trade and diplomatic talks. Crackdown on rights figures continued: opposition activist Omar Mamedov 4 July sentenced to 5 years prison on drug charges; Reporters Without Borders 11 July criticised trial as “politically manipulated”. Chairman of opposition Musavay party youth wing reportedly detained 23 July; prominent activists Leyla Yunus and husband Arif Yunus called in for questioning 30 July, reportedly charged with treason and other crimes. Jailings condemned by UK minister for Europe and other European bodies.

Georgia

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Georgian prosecutors 28 July filed charges against former president Mikhail Saakashvili for abuse of power; U.S. 29 July expressed concern. Several foreign govts emphasised due process needed to be rigorously followed in trials of former govt. Ex-Tbilisi mayor and opposition figure Ugulava detained and jailed 3 July on similar charges awaiting trial. PM Irakli Garibashvili 31 July said judicial proceedings will be "objective and transparent”. Ongoing political tensions between loosely affiliated Georgian Dream coalition and opposition United National Movement (UNM) following June local elections. Incident near Armenian Tbilisi church in mid-July with men wielding steel bars, concerns about long-dormant ethnic issues and response by police. EU Association Agreement ratified 18 July. Court in breakaway South Ossetia region 18 July jailed Georgian for spying.

Moldova

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Parliament 2 July ratified Association Agreement with EU; Russia’s deputy PM said move violates rights of people of breakaway Transdniester region, Russia same day announced sanctions on Moldovan imports. Russia and Transdniester 3 July signed series of cooperation agreements. Moldova’s Council for TV and Radio 4 July suspended Russia 24 TV channel’s broadcast license, placed sanctions on 4 Moldovan broadcasters. FM Natalia Gherman 29 July announced Moldova will participate in Sept NATO summit for the first time.

Ukraine

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 shot down over Donetsk region 17 July, reportedly by Russian-made SA-11 surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 on board; pro-Russian rebels denied involvement, variously blamed U.S. or Ukrainian govts. Pressure increased on Russia; EU and U.S. announced further sanctions, including economic ones late July. Rebels controlling area around crash site impeded investigation efforts in days following incident; later reportedly agreed to allow access to site, investigation hindered by heavy fighting in area; international investigative team reportedly reached site late month. Continued fighting between pro-Russian rebels and govt forces in Luhansk and Donetsk regions: rebels 5 July abandoned northern Donetsk town of Slovyansk, withdrew to Donetsk city; main rebel commander Igor Girkin-Strelkov complained of inadequate Russian military support before retreat. Govt forces captured small rebel garrisons elsewhere in east but lost several warplanes, including in days leading up to MH17 incident; another 2 jets downed 23 July. Ukrainian security sources mid-month estimated rebel strength varying from 6,000 to 20,000 fighters, govt forces at 50,000 nationwide. Signs emerged of concern within Russia’s political elite over economic and diplomatic price of supporting rebels: following late June articles in pro-Kremlin media criticising Strelkov, statements from radical nationalists expressed disappointment with Putin; several statements from senior Russian govt officials noted damaging effect of sanctions on banking system. Human Rights Watch 24 July accused army of shelling civilian areas, reports denied by govt. PM Yatseniuk 24 July tendered resignation over failure of parliament to increase funding for army, address country’s energy problems; 2 parties quit governing coalition same day; parliament 31 July voted to reject Yatseniuk’s resignation, increase funding for army.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  |  1 Aug 2014

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A Dutch court on 16 July ruled the Netherlands liable for 300 Bosnian Muslims killed in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. The Genocide anniversary was commemorated in mid-July.

Macedonia

  |  1 Aug 2014

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Ethnic Albanian protesters 4 July clashed with riot police during rally against jailing of several Muslims for murder of ethnic Macedonians in Skopje; 20 police, several protesters injured; 6 ethnic Albanians sentenced 30 July to 3 years in prison for participation in violent protests.

Kosovo

  |  1 Jul 2014

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Parliamentary elections held 8 June with 43% turnout: ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) narrowly defeated opposition Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK). Opposition parties LDK, Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) and PDK splinter group 10 June agreed to form coalition against PDK. EU 12 June extended 2,000-strong rule of law and justice mission until June 2016, said mission will now start “phasing out executive functions in justice sector”. Mitrovica Serbs 18 June dismantled barricade that had been blocking main bridge for 3 years, 20 June re-blocked bridge; police in Mitrovica 22 June clashed with Kosovo Albanian protesters.

Armenia

  |  1 Jul 2014

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President Sargsyan 4 June met with OSCE chairman Burkhalter, discussed EU-Armenia relations and Nagorno-Karabakh. Sargsyan 18 June visited Tbilisi, discussed bilateral, regional issues with Georgian President Margvelashvili; Russian FM Lavrov visited Armenia 23 June, discussed Armenia’s possible accession to Eurasian Economic Union. Adoption of national Human Rights Action Plan 30 June commended by joint UN, EU, OSCE, CoE statement.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Jul 2014

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Rights crackdown continued: prominent activists Arif and Leyla Yunus prevented from leaving country to attend conference 10-11 June due to passport seizure in April. U.S. expressed serious concern. Baku dismissed criticism over rights record as biased and inaccurate. Govt 23 June dropped plans to introduce jury trials. EC President Barroso 14 June visited Baku to discuss Southern Gas Corridor. Russian FM Lavrov visited Baku 18 June, said Azerbaijan not formally invited to Customs Union or Eurasian Economic Union, but Moscow welcomes any interested partner.

Georgia

  |  1 Jul 2014

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Local elections held 15 June: Georgian Dream coalition retained control over most local councils though with lower votes than expected; in S Ossetia parties favouring outright union with Russia fared best according to results released by de facto authorities. Pre-election period marred by violence against opposition National Movement candidates. 28th round of Geneva International Discussions on Abkhazia and S Ossetia broke down again 18 June; representatives from both separatist regions walked out after demanding discussion of return of over 200,000 ethnic Georgian IDPs to entities be removed from agenda. Georgia 27 June signed association agreement with EU. NATO 25 June announced will not invite Georgia to join NATO’s Membership Action Plan, formal step toward membership, at Sept summit; instead agreed to draw up cooperation package. U.S. congressional delegation visited 29 June, met with President Margvelashvili, PM Garibashvili, other officials; emphasised country’s “importance” to U.S..

Moldova

  |  1 Jul 2014

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Govt 27 June signed EU Association Agreement. Another round of talks on conflict over breakaway Transdniester region held 5-6 June in Vienna, attended by representatives from OSCE, EU, Russia, U.S. and Ukraine.

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CrisisWatch N°136

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