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CrisisWatch Database

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1256 results found
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Georgia

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

EU Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle met with FM in Tbilisi 4 March, pledged continued support for closer ties between EU and Georgia. Talks between Georgian and Russian officials to discuss possible high-level meeting postponed twice early March. Prosecutors summoned former President Saakashvili for questioning as witness in several criminal cases including investigation into 2005 death of former PM Zurab Zhvania; U.S.-based Saakashvili said he will not return to Georgia for questioning.

Armenia

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Ukraine protested, withdrew ambassador after President Sargsyan endorsed 16 March referendum in Crimea (see Ukraine). Sargsyan in phone call to Russian President Putin 19 March reportedly voiced support for right to self-determination. Armenia one of only 11 states to vote against 27 March UNGA resolution affirming Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Kosovo

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Govt announced plan to transform Kosovo Security Force into Kosovo Armed Forces by 2019; Belgrade said plan violates April 2013 normalisation agreement, cited guarantees forces will never enter Serb-majority north of Kosovo. Kosovo Serbs 16 March cast votes in Serbian election in polls organised by OSCE. Russian embassy in Belgrade said Moscow’s policy of non-recognition of Kosovo unchanged notwithstanding developments in Crimea.

Turkey

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Ruling AKP won more than 44% of vote in 30 March local elections. 8 killed in clashes between supporters of rival candidates on polling day in Sanliurfa and Hatay province; mayoral candidate for Islamist Felicity Party shot dead in Siirt province 31 March. 15-year-old in coma since June 2013 clashes between protesters and police, described by PM Erdoğan as “terrorist”, died 11 March prompting more protest; 1 shot dead 12 March in Istanbul in clash between rival political groups, 1 policeman died of heart attack due to tear gas in Tunceli same day. Continued social media leaks of corruption allegations and phone conversations involving Erdoğan govt led to ban on Twitter 20 March, blocking of YouTube. No new progress in govt-PKK peace process; first combat death since March 2013 ceasefire as Turkish soldier killed in 6 March explosion in Uludere, Şırnak province. Amid fighting between Syrian regime and rebels in border area, Turkey 23 March shot down Syrian warplane outside Hatay province, saying it crossed into Turkish airspace. 3 alleged members of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from Syria started firefight in central Niğde province 20 March; 2 soldiers, 1 police, 1 civilian killed. 2 suspected ISIL members and 3 police injured in raid in Istanbul 25 March.

Moldova

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Senior NATO commander 23 March warned Moscow could be targeting Moldova’s separatist Transdniester region. Transdniestrian parliamentary speaker Nikhail Burla 17 March urged Russia to admit region. President Timofti 19 March urged EU to bring forward planned signing of association agreement with country. U.S. pledged additional $10m to Moldova to help secure borders.

Cyprus

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Little sign of progress since reunification talks restarted 11 Feb despite regular meetings between negotiators: Republic of Cyprus President Anastasiades 16 March said initial indications not encouraging. Extreme right Greek Cypriot group Elam attacked former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in Limassol 26 March; Talat unhurt.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Anti-govt protests that began early Feb continued on smaller scale in several towns and cities. EU foreign policy chief Ashton, visiting 12 March, said EU will switch focus from constitutional reform to economy, welfare, judiciary.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Amid scrutiny of regional responses to Russian actions in Ukraine, President Aliyev 20 March reportedly said “a country’s territorial integrity cannot be changed without its agreement”. Court in N city Saki 17 March sentenced 2 leading opposition figures to 5 and 7 years’ prison for mass disorder over Jan 2013 unrest in Ismayili. 8 others jailed, 8 given suspended sentences. U.S. embassy said verdicts politically motivated, EU also critical.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

During visit to Baghdad FM said Azerbaijan could ship Iraqi natural gas to Europe. New defence minister visited Brussels for talks with NATO 26 Feb on Azerbaijan’s role in Afghanistan mission. RFE/RL journalist questioned for “grave crimes” over allegations of passing “state secrets” to U.S. officials; U.S. embassy called charges “absurd”.

Cyprus

  |  1 Mar 2014

Improved

Reunification talks restarted 11 Feb after 18-month pause; leaders of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities issued Joint Declaration emphasising future reunified Cyprus to be based on political equality for Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, single united Cyprus citizenship, single international legal personality and single sovereignty. Agreement welcomed by EU, U.S.; Turkey supported talks but FM Davutoğlu 9 Feb suggested two-state solution as alternative path if Greek Cypriots reject new settlement deal, saying “talks cannot and will not last forever”. For first time in more than 4 decades, chief negotiators from both Cypriot communities held official talks in Athens and Ankara respectively 27 Feb.

Georgia

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Govt strongly protested quickened pace of “borderisation” by Russian troops in South Ossetia, said building of fortifications and fences along administrative border picked up immediately after end of Sochi Olympics. PM Garibashvili met European Commission President Barroso 3 Feb, said Georgia’s EU integration “irreversible” and expects to sign Association Agreement by Aug. Russian President Putin early Feb said open to talks with Georgian President Margvelashvili; officials reportedly preparing to discuss possible meeting. PM Garibashvili, FM and other officials visited U.S. late month for talks with U.S. VP Biden; President Obama unexpectedly joined meeting. Former PM Merabishvili sentenced to 5 years for abuse of office, bribing voters, inefficient use of funds. Trial in absentia of ex-defence minister under former President Saakashvili Davit Kezerashvili began, but France ruled out his extradition over corruption allegations.

Armenia

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

PM Sargsyan met with Russian PM Medvedev in Sochi 24 Feb to discuss bilateral relations, including Russian-led Customs Union that Armenia plans to join. Authorities late Jan arrested former police officer for allegedly spying for Azerbaijan. Govt critics expressed dismay over more restrictive rules introduced for Armenian migrant workers in Russia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Protests began in over 30 towns early Feb, triggered by collapse of privatised companies in Tuzla and resulting layoffs. Hundreds of redundant workers gathered in front of govt building in Tuzla 5 Feb calling for compensation; over 30 injured, 27 arrested. Several thousand joined protests 6 Feb, scores injured; protests began in Sarajevo and other places same day in support of Tuzla protesters and over economic conditions; 8 Feb spread to 32 towns in Bosniak-Croat entity, with protesters in some cities attacking and setting fire to govt buildings, clashing with police; several hundred injured, scores detained. Several politicians resigned, including canton govts in Tuzla and Zenica. Situation calmed 9 Feb, though protests continued demanding further resignations, measures to curb corruption, improve economy. Small protest also in Republika Srpska capital. Governing Social Democratic Party 12 Feb submitted proposal to parliament to change state-level electoral law to enable early elections. Sarajevo canton govt late Feb accepted protesters’ demands for govt of experts, lower wages for officials.

Kosovo

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

In 23 Feb re-run of local election in Mitrovica North, Goran Rakic, candidate from Belgrade-backed “Srpska” list, won with 52.6% of vote. Pristina and Belgrade in disagreement over whether voting in Serbia’s March parliamentary elections can also be held in Serb areas of Kosovo. UNSG Ban in report to UNSC praised progress by Kosovo and Serbia on normalisation of relations.

Turkey

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Month saw several demonstrations in Istanbul and other provinces against new laws criticised for increasing authoritarian turn of PM Erdoğan’s govt; police used tear gas, water cannon. Controversial laws included bills on internet regulation and Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, both approved by President Gül, and a proposal to broaden powers of National Intelligence Organisation. EU officials sent messages critical of legal changes. 24 Feb tapes of phone conversations allegedly between Erdoğan and son about hiding large sums of cash leaked; PM claimed recordings fake, more recordings emerged in following days. Court 28 Feb released last 5 suspects detained in Dec corruption probe targeting PM’s inner circle, including 2 sons of ministers. Month saw deterioration in peace process between govt and Kurdish insurgency PKK. Ceasefire violations continued, particularly in SE Şırnak province; PKK militants 17 Feb fired on road construction machines near border, Turkish military responded, skirmish continued for several days. At Geneva II conference on Syria conflict (see Syria) Syrian FM Muallem accused Erdoğan of backing “terrorists”. Turkish officials continued to intensify high-level contacts with EU; PM Erdoğan 3 Feb visited Germany, FM Davutoğlu 10-11 Feb visited Brussels.

Kosovo

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Newly-elected mayor of Mitrovica refused to take office 13 Jan, calling Nov local elections “major scam by international community”; new polls set for 23 Feb. Member of Mitrovica municipal assembly shot dead by unknown assailant in N Mitrovica 16 Jan.

Armenia

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Opposition parties unified over public hostility to law adopted by ruling Republican party mandating payroll deductions to be put into privately run retirement accounts; several protests against law during month. Constitutional Court 24 Jan suspended enactment of legislation pending final ruling regarding its constitutional legality.

Turkey

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Tensions over 17 Dec corruption raid targeting PM Erdoğan’s inner circle deepened. Govt reacted by reshuffling thousands of prosecutors and policemen allegedly behind corruption investigation. Govt 7 Jan sent draft legislation to parliament aiming to enhance executive authority over judges, prosecutors, prompting criticism from U.S., EU. Anti-govt protests formed in major cities: thousands 11 Jan protested in Ankara. Investigation widely seen as instigated by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, reflecting internal battle between formerly allied governing AKP and Gülen’s Islamic movement fighting over control of state institutions; Erdoğan called investigation foreign-backed “coup attempt” by “parallel state”. Peace process between govt and Kurdish insurgency PKK remains fragile, with occasional flare-ups of violence continuing in SE, but ceasefire officially continues. Military court 6 Jan dropped investigation into deaths of 34 Kurdish civilians in military air strike in 2011. Protests erupted 15 Jan over building of new military outpost in Sirnak in SE, several protesters injured. All 5 pro-Kurdish BDP deputies on trial for alleged involvement with Kurdish Communities Union released 3-4 Jan. FM Davutoğlu 19 Jan denied allegations that Turkey supported al-Qaeda in Syria; army 28 Jan opened fire on al-Qaeda-linked militants in N Syria destroying several vehicles, reportedly in retaliation for cross-border fire from Syria; police 14 Jan detained 28 suspects in raid against al-Qaeda. Amid EU concerns over judicial independence in Turkey, Erdoğan 21 Jan visited Brussels for first time in 5 years, renewed commitment to Turkey’s EU path.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Musavat Party withdrew from National Council of Democratic Forces opposition alliance, established in 2013.

Georgia

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Parliament 23 Jan passed unanimous resolution citing “extreme concern” over developments in Ukraine, adding “Russia will not be able to force either Georgia or Ukraine to reject their European choice”. Amid ongoing dispute over Russian “borderisation” of administrative boundary lines along breakaway Georgian regions, President Margvelashvili 20 Jan expressed indignation over Russian announcement it would extend “border zone” 11km deeper into Abkhazia to maintain security for Feb Sochi Winter Olympics, said move politically motivated, contravened international law. Head of Russian-backed South Ossetia (SO) entity Leonid Tibilov unexpectedly dismissed cabinet 20 Jan, citing delays in reconstruction, social and economic problems, also acknowledging reported misappropriation of at least $1bn in Russian funds; mentioned growing signs that Russia and SO may agree on de facto Russian “annexation” of SO, said no need for referendum as called for by opposition.

Cyprus

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Start of reunification negotiations continue to be stalled over wording of joint statement. UN special envoy Downer 15 Jan met with negotiators from both sides for final round of contacts ahead of informal briefing with UNSC 22 Jan. Business groups from both communities, Greece and Turkey 9 Jan called for “comprehensive and permanent solution” on island.

Armenia

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Russian President Putin visited Yerevan 2 Dec for meeting with President Sargsyan, agreed deal on low-cost Russian gas; around 1,000 protested visit. Turkish FM in Yerevan for meeting of Black Sea Economic Cooperation group 12 Dec, met with Armenian FM, first high-level Turkish visit since 2009.

Cyprus

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Attempts to restart reunification talks reached impasse over definition of “single sovereignty” in proposed joint statement that would set goals for talks. During visit to Athens Turkish FM Davutoğlu 14 Dec echoed Turkish Cypriot view of future bizonality as sovereignty divided between 2 constituent states; Greek Cypriots insist on single sovereignty as precondition to resume talks. Greek and Turkish FMs reportedly agreed to simultaneous visits by Turkish Cypriot chief negotiator to Athens and Greek Cypriot chief negotiator to Ankara, but process held up by disagreement over content of joint statement from FMs.

Azerbaijan

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Border officer killed in shoot-out along Iranian border 1 Dec, latest in sporadic incidents along border; countries’ relations strained over Baku’s charges of Iranian sponsorship of fundamentalist Islamists in Azerbaijan. Hundreds protested rising food, fuel prices 15 Dec; govt 2 Dec announced petrol price hike. Authorities arrested Anar Mammadli, head of Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre, questioned on tax evasion, illegal business activity. FM denounced U.S. criticism of rights issues as “blackmail”. 2 disabled Karabakh war veterans committed self-immolation 25, 28 Dec; first died.

Serbia

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

EU FMs 17 Dec agreed Serbia can start EU membership talks Jan following implementation of April 2013 EU-mediated agreement with Kosovo.

Turkey

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

In perceived proxy battle within AKP, more than 50 people detained 17 Dec for alleged involvement in corruption ring, including sons of 3 cabinet ministers, 1 municipal leader, prominent businessmen, more than 24 formally arrested; 4 ministers implicated replaced in 25 Dec 10-minister cabinet reshuffle. Separate probe delayed after govt reassigned hundreds of police, prosecutor says unable to order detentions for questioning. Peace process between govt and Kurdish insurgency PKK remains fragile, with occasional flare-ups of violence in SE: protests 6 Dec against alleged vandalism of PKK militants’ graves in Yüksekova, Hakkari; 2 protesters killed in clashes during police crackdown, 3rd died later. Further clashes at funeral for killed protesters 7 Dec in Şırnak and Yüksekova, several wounded, including police. PKK 8 Dec kidnapped 4 soldiers in retaliation, released 9 Dec. PKK leader Cemil Bayık 2 Dec said peace process heading off course due to governing AKP delaying tactics, signalled PKK would take up arms again if process not accelerated by spring 2014. Continued tensions along Syrian border: 1 Syrian child killed 3 Dec by Turkish soldiers firing warning shots to stop group illegally crossing back to Syria. Committee to Protect Journalists 18 Dec announced Turkey “world’s leading jailer of journalists”, some 40 journalists imprisoned, mainly Kurdish. Turkey and EU 16 Dec signed readmission agreement obliging Turkey to take back illegal immigrants who enter EU via Turkey, in exchange for start of visa exemption talks. 

Georgia

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

26th round of Geneva talks involving Tbilisi govt and Abkhazia and South Ossetia (SO) authorities ended in another deadlock 18 Dec, after previous round saw sides express cautious optimism on possible “non-use of force” agreement. Entity representatives blocking discussion of other issues including fate of Georgian IDPs unless such an agreement is reached, but Tbilisi insisting that Russia also signs agreement, pledge non-use of force; Russia refuses. Tbilisi again raised issue of “borderisation” of SO administrative boundary line by Russian troops, emphasising resulting hardship for local residents. European monitors early Dec reported almost 50km of heavy fortifications erected by mid-Nov, some 1km into Georgian-held territory, also Russian drone activity. European Council President Van Rompuy said EU willing to speed up signing of Association Agreement with Georgia by Aug 2014. Russian President Putin raised possibility of lifting visa requirements for Georgians. New series of charges and questioning of political figures from former governing UNM party began mid-Dec, including Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava charged with misappropriation of funds; former Deputy Prosecutor-General Davit Chkhatarshvili detained, charged with abuse of power and other charges over alleged role in 2012 prison abuse scandal. Former PM Merabishvili, arrested in May on charges including abuse of power, claimed authorities pressuring him to inform on former President Saakashvili. 

Kosovo

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Run-off elections for 25 of 38 municipalities 1 Dec; no incidents reported, amid heavy security in North Mitrovica; some irregularities. Democratic Party of Kosovo won total of 10 municipalities in elections; Democratic League of Kosovo 9; Belgrade-backed “Srpska” 8. During 19th round of EU-mediated talks, Serbian and Kosovo PMs 5 Dec agreed that a Serb will command regional police in Serb-majority northern Kosovo.

Macedonia

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

European Council 17 Dec again postponed discussion on opening Macedonian EU membership talks until June 2014, due to Greek position on name dispute.

Armenia

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Govt 6 Nov signed cooperation agreement with Russia-led “Eurasian Economic Union”, seen as larger political component of Customs Union which govt decided to join in Sept. Dozens of anti-govt protesters clashed with police in Yerevan 5 Nov, several arrested, some sent to psychiatric hospitals.

Cyprus

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

New round of reunification talks between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, planned to begin by end Oct, delayed as negotiators unable to agree on joint statement. After informal meeting with Turkish Cypriot President Eroğlu 25 Nov, Greek Cypriot President Anastasiades said “still a long way to go” before “substantive dialogue” could start. Following talks with negotiators from both sides early Nov, UN special envoy Downer said efforts “inching ahead”. Republic of Cyprus govt 22 Nov announced it will begin talks with Italian-South Korean venture on licensing 2 offshore blocks for natural gas exploitation.

Turkey

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Flagging peace process between govt and Kurdish PKK insurgency reinvigorated as PM Erdoğan and Iraqi Kurdistan leader Masoud Barzani 16 Nov gave joint public address in Diyarbakır; Erdoğan used word “Kurdistan”, visited Diyarbakır municipality run by pro-Kurdish BDP. On first visit to Turkey since 1992, Barzani spoke of Turkish-Kurdish “brotherhood”, urged Turkish Kurds to support PKK peace process. Sporadic army-PKK clashes continue: PKK 15 Nov attacked army convoy in Nusaybin; 19 Nov set construction vehicles on fire on Şırnak-Van highway. Continued reports of smuggling along Syrian border: Turkish border control 2 Nov intercepted convoy carrying 1,000kg of chemicals; 7 Nov seized cargo truck loaded with 1,200 weapons. Govt figures show over 600,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, over 200,000 of these in camps, rest in cities. Thousands 7 Nov participated in BDP-organised protests against construction of wall along Syrian border in Nusaybin. FM Davutoğlu denied Western accusations that Turkey allows jihadi fighters to transit through its territory to Syria. Interior ministry 27 Nov reported around 500 Turkish citizens fighting in Syria alongside al-Qaeda linked rebels. In attempt to mend ties with Shiite regional powers, Davutoğlu 1 Nov hosted Iranian FM Zarif; during 11 Nov trip to Iraq, visited Shiite shrine, met Shiite spiritual leader al-Sistani. Egypt 23 Nov announced expulsion of Turkish ambassador, citing govt’s “provocative” criticism of Cairo. Thousands of Turkish Alevis 3 Nov staged anti-govt demonstration in Istanbul demanding “equal citizenship”. Ending 3-year hiatus in accession negotiations, EU, Turkey 5 Nov opened chapter 22 on regional policy.

Kosovo

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Local elections held across Kosovo 3 Nov, including first local polls to be held under Kosovo jurisdiction in country’s 4 mainly-Serb northern municipalities. Polls marked by widespread fraud. Turnout among Kosovo Serbs low despite encouragement to vote from Belgrade, amid deeply flawed electoral preparations in north. Serb hardliners threatened Serbs who turned out to vote, attacked 3 polling stations, prompting OSCE staff to withdraw from N Kosovo; violence prompted widespread condemnation, plus criticism of police handling of security. Despite irregularities Central Election Commission (CEC) only ordered re-run of vote in 3 assaulted polling stations in North Mitrovica. Amid heavy security no incidents reported at re-run on 17 Nov, but turnout still low at 22% despite intensified pressure from Belgrade to vote; prosecutors subsequently opened investigation into whether Belgrade-backed Srpska list coerced people into voting. CEC also ordered re-vote in Zvečan after losing candidate presented evidence of fraud. 10 out of 35 municipalities saw outright winner in first round vote; run-off vote for others scheduled for 1 Dec. Belgrade-backed list “Srpska” won vote in 3 Serb municipalities, North Mitrovica headed for run-off.

Georgia

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Tensions with Russia increased, European Union Monitoring Mission expressed “concern” over Russian troops’ continued “borderisation” of administrative boundary of largely unrecognised “South Ossetia” entity. PM Ivanishvili quit and left politics, naming Irakli Garibashvili, 31-year-old interior minister, new PM 18 Nov. New President Margvelashvili, whose powers under new constitution mostly moved to parliament, sworn in. Country initialled Association Agreement with EU 28 Nov, hopes to formally conclude with signing in 2014.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

President Aliyev visited Turkey in reaffirmation of political and military alliance with Ankara regarding conflict with Armenia and coordination on energy projects. Council of Europe human rights commissioner called on Azerbaijan to make progress on human rights reforms ahead of its chairmanship of body beginning May 2014, amid reports of continuing pressure and detention of some opposition journalists.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

High Representative Valentin Inzko in report to UNSC expressed concern over political crisis, need for reform, Bosnian Serb calls for secession. Republika Srpska (RS) President Dodik 20 Nov said RS should be separate state. Preliminary results of Oct census show fall in population from 1991 level from 4.4mn to 3.79mn. Upper chamber of parliament 5 Nov adopted changes to Law on Personal Numbers, required for newborns to obtain personal documents. Prosecutors 27 Nov indicted Federation entity President Budimir and several other senior figures over suspicious amnesties.

Kosovo

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Scattered violence marred preparations for first local elections to be held under Kosovo jurisdiction in Serb-held northern municipalities 3 Nov, fuelled fears for violence on election day. 3 explosions targeted local politicians 14-19 Oct. Belgrade and Pristina traded accusations of fraud related to voter registration process. UNDP survey early Oct found almost half Serbs in N Kosovo do not plan to vote, only half of voters aware of who was running for mayor. Most of region’s established politicians supporting boycott campaign. EU Progress Report said Kosovo must strengthen anti-corruption efforts; Kosovo began talks on Stabilisation and Association Agreement 28 Oct.

Armenia

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Speaking at Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe 2 Oct, President Sargsyan denied widespread opinion of politicians and commentators that pressure from Russia played role in Sept decision to join Russian-led Customs Union, expressed hope that Armenia could still initial association agreement (AA) with EU. EU officials say not possible as AA agreement contains free trade clauses incompatible with Russian-led Customs Union membership.

Cyprus

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Republic of Cyprus President Anastasiades 4 Oct called for “new impetus” ahead of peace talks expected to start in coming weeks, 27 Oct said his govt wants to reunify island, but would not give in to pressure. Turkish FM Davutoğlu 9 Oct said there is “window of opportunity for peace”. Turkish Cypriot FM Özdil Nami 9 Oct expressed hope to reach agreement on peace plan by March 2014.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

President Aliyev, in power since 2003, won third 5-year term in 9 Oct presidential election with 85% of vote; main opposition candidate Camil Hasanli received around 5%. Polls criticised by OSCE as “seriously flawed”, marred by “restrictive media environment”, allegations of intimidation; govt rejected “biased” report. U.S. said vote fell short of international standards. Opposition denounced vote as “fraudulent and illegitimate”. A few thousand opposition supporters rallied against result, also called for release of “political prisoners”, end to govt pressure on media. Ahead of vote, UN human rights agency expressed concern over “restrictive environment” faced by activists; EU also expressed concern over “continued pressure” on opposition activists, civil society, independent media; OSCE called situation “quite worrying”. Aliyev sworn in 19 Oct in unusually low key ceremony, replaced long-serving defence minister, more changes expected. Govt 21 Oct said no plans to join Russian-led Customs Union.

Turkey

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Peace process between govt and Kurdish PKK insurgency looking increasingly fragile, though PKK did not end ceasefire after 15 Oct as threatened. PKK 1 Oct said not satisfied with govt’s 30 Sept “democratisation package”; leader Cemil Bayık 19 Oct said “process has come to an end”, requires “deep and meaningful negotiations” with Kurdish movement “or there will be a civil war in Turkey”, demanded direct access for Öcalan to outside world. Parliament 3 Oct voted to extend mandate authorising deployment of troops to Syria citing threat of chemical weapons. Incidents continue on border with Syria: 1 Turkish civilian killed in Ceylanpınar 28 Oct by stray shell from fighting in Ras al-Ayn between Kurdish and Islamist fighters, Turkish army returned fire. Protests against Turkey’s 7 Oct decision to build wall along Syrian border turned violent 20 Oct as police dispersed protesters in Mardin province. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Directorate said 22 Oct over 600,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey. After EU 16 Oct published relatively positive Progress Report on Turkey’s accession process, new negotiating chapter on regional policy to be opened 5 Nov, first in 3 years.

Georgia

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Ruling Georgian Dream coalition candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili won 27 Oct presidential election with 62% of vote; outgoing president Saakashvili’s UNM party candidate Davit Bakradze won 22%, former parliament speaker Nino Burdhzanadze 10%; turnout reported at 46.6%. PM Ivanishvili 22 Oct again said Saakashvili may face prosecution following election. Former defence minister under Saakashvili Davit Kezerashvili detained on Interpol warrant in France 15 Oct on corruption charges, govt seeking extradition. Former defence minister Bacho Akhalaia sentenced to nearly 4 years’ prison for abuse of office. NATO SG Fogh Rasmussen 2 Oct called on Russia to reverse recognition of breakaway Georgian regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia (SO), expressed concern over Russia’s demarcation of SO administrative boundary line and effect on local Georgians.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Bosnian leaders again failed to agree on constitutional reforms required to implement 2009 European Court of Human Rights umSejdić-Finci ruling, as required by EU. EU responded saying it would cut €47mn in pre-accession assistance, around half of 2014 allocation. Annual EU Progress Report 22 Oct criticised lack of reform, emphasised Brussels does not intend to impose solutions. Bosnia finally performed first post-war population census 1-15 Oct amid accusations of fraud and irregularities.

Cyprus

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Turkish FM Davutoğlu and Greek FM Venizelos 23 Sept reached breakthrough agreement on visits by representatives of Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders to Athens and Ankara respectively in attempt to find political solution on island. Leaders voiced demand for immediate resumption of intercommunal talks on Cyprus settlement. Israel’s energy envoy Michael Lotem 10 Sept called on Turkey, Cyprus to move together to develop Israel’s share of East Mediterranean’s natural gas riches. 

Kosovo

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Belgrade and Pristina pushing ahead with plans for Kosovo-wide municipal elections 3 Nov. Serbian officials registered state-backed slate of candidates for first local elections to be held under Kosovo law in the four northern municipalities Serbia has controlled since 1999 (Leposavić, North Mitrovica, Zubin Potok and Zvečan). Central Electoral Committee 2 Sept agreed to print ballot papers without Republic of Kosovo symbols. As part of EU-mediated April deal normalising Kosovo-Serbia relations, Serbian govt 10 Sept dismissed mayors and dissolved assemblies of the 4 northern municipalities, naming interim govts headed by its chosen candidates for Nov polls – completing Serbia’s administrative withdrawal from Kosovo and in effect representing Serbia’s acquiescence to implementing non-status components of 2006 Ahtisaari Plan. Northern Kosovo Serbs continue to reject submission to Pristina’s authority and urge boycott of elections. One or more unknown gunmen opened fire on EULEX convoy 19 September, killing Lithuanian policeman en route to northern border post at Jarinje; risk of further violence in run-up to polls. Belgrade also formed team for establishing Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo, also part of April deal.

Moldova

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

PM Leanca held talks with leader of breakaway region Trandniester 23 Sept ahead of planned 3 Oct negotiations on issue involving OSCE, EU, Russia, U.S. and Ukraine. Russian deputy PM warned Moldova that its signing of an association agreement with EU would mean “cutting relations” with Russia, affecting trade, migrant workers and Russian position on Transdniester. President Timofti 4 Sept said Moldova committed to EU course.

Armenia

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

President Sargsyan 3 Sept said Armenia to join Russian-led Customs Union and future Eurasian Economic Union following talks with Russian President Putin citing “national interests”. Govt said still hoped Armenia would be able to sign planned association agreement with EU in Nov but EU officials ruled this out. EU Enlargement Commissioner Füle criticised Russian “threats” and “undue pressure” on Armenia and other countries in region as “unacceptable”. Police arrested 9 people protesting in Yerevan against Customs Union move. Opposition activist Dmitry Harutiunian, detained 24 Aug during protest in Yerevan, put in pre-trial detention for 2 months, charged with insulting police.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Ahead of Oct EU deadline to implement 2009 European Court of Human Rights Sejdić-Finci ruling which stipulates that minorities must be able to run for 3-member presidency posts currently reserved for Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, Bosniak Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) 5 Sept put forward new proposal for electing members of 3-member state presidency. Proposal criticised by other parties. Parties expected to report to EU Enlargement Commissioner Füle 1 Oct.

Azerbaijan

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

Ahead of 9 Oct presidential election Human Rights Watch warned of govt repression of opposition. Son of one opposition figure beaten and stabbed by unknown assailants 23 Sept; son of another opposition leader Ali Kerimli jailed; Kerimli cited attempt to put pressure on him over his political activities. Baku court sentenced editor of Talysh minority newspaper Tolisi Sado to 5 years’ prison for high treason, incitement of ethnic/religious/racial hatred, drugs possession. EU Enlargement Commissioner Füle said country needs to make reforms on rights to move forward in EU dialogue.

Macedonia

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

UN mediator in name dispute between Greece and Macedonia Matthew Nimetz visited capitals early month, said significant differences remain. FM Poposki after meeting with Greek counterpart on sidelines of UNGA said sides far from solution. UNSG Ban offered to help organise high-level talks.

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CrisisWatch N°128

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