Balkans: Syrians Demand A Turkish Invasion

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November 19, 2011: The Syrian National Council (SNC), an umbrella organization that claims to represent many Syrian rebel groups, is asking for international intervention in Syria. International is a euphemism for Turkey and NATO. The Turkish government has hardened its demands for change in Syria but so far has not committed to action beyond supporting calls for sanctions on the Assad regime. Turkey has reinforced its military units along the Turkey-Syria border, but that isn’t exactly news. The Turkish military began moving security units (including paramilitary gendarme units) during the Summer as Syrian refugees crossed the border. A group called the Free Syrian Army is claiming that it has conducted several small-scale attacks on Syrian military facilities. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) includes some defectors from the Syrian military. No one knows quite how large it is; though its spokesmen claim it has 15,000 fighters. At the moment Turkish military intervention is unlikely, but if the Syrian revolt escalates into a broader and even more violent civil war, a peace-keeping invasion may become a least-worst option for the Turkish government. A century ago Syria was a province of the Ottoman Empire so Turks are considered imperialists. Republican Turkey isn’t the Ottoman Empire and it is clear opposition to the Assad regime is wide-spread. A hard choice is looming.

The unity government of Greece acknowledged that it has until mid-December to meet European Union lending requirements or face default. The government submitted a tentative reform budget designed to meet the requirements of the International Monetary Fund, the EU, and European Central Bank. However, the main parties in the coalition government continue to disagree over new austerity measures. If this sounds like a repeat of October, which was a repeat of last spring, which was a repeat of Fall 2010 –well, it is.

November 17, 2011: The UN Security Council unanimously extended the EU’s Bosnia peacekeeping mission for another year. The Dayton Accords, which ended the Bosnian War, were signed in 1995.

A senior leader in Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood said that the people of Syria would support a Turkish military intervention to protect them from the Assad regime, but not an intervention with troops from Western nations. The Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni Muslim organization. Turkey is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country.

November 16, 2011: Kosovar Serbs have come up with a new twist on Pan-Slavism – they want Russian citizenship so that Russia will protect their interests and keep them from being absorbed by Kosovar Albanians. So far 21,000 Kosovar Serbs have petitioned Russia to grant them citizenship. So far no one has received citizenship. A Russian diplomat, however, said that the Serbs could move to Russia.

November 15, 2011: The Turkish government said that it no longer has confidence in the Assad regime which rules Syria. The Turkish government objected to attacks on Turkish consulates in Syria which were conducted by supporters of the Assad regime.

November 12, 2011: Bulgaria reported a series of explosions damaged a munitions depot near the town of Sevlievo. The blasts were described as accidental

November 11, 2011: The new Greek unity (coalition) government of Prime Minister Lucas Papdemos appointed a new cabinet. The new cabinet includes members of the two major parties, the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK) and the center-right New Democracy Party, and the nationalist Laos Party.

November 10, 2011: The leader of Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), visited several jailed members of the CHP who are charged with participating in the so-called Ergenekon anti-government conspiracy. The CHP believes the Ergenekon charges are false and the entire Ergenekon trial is unjust.

November 7, 2011: The Name War continues to grind on. The government of Macedonia said that the UN-mediated discussion with Greece over Macedonia’s use of the name Macedonia is not making progress. Greece insists that Macedonia call itself the FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). Macedonia was admitted to the UN as the FYROM, but Macedonians argue they should be allowed to officially call their country by its name. Greece argues that Macedonia is a name associated with Greece.

November 5, 2011: UN mediators indicated that Greek and Turkish Cypriot representatives are making progress in negotiations to end the political division of the island. That has been said before, however, the mediators are mentioning that the sides want to reach an agreement by June 2012. There’s a reason for the date. Cyprus will take its turn as president of the EU in July 2012.

November 3, 2011: A Syrian colonel who defected from the Syria Army announced that he is now commanding a rebel army (Free Syrian Army). The officer made the announcement from what was described as an enclave in Turkey. The defector’s open presence in Turkey sends a tough political message to the Syrian dictatorship. Turkey is leaving it options open.

November 2, 2011: Russia’s ambassador to Serbia accused the Serbian government of failing to protect the interest of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo.

October 27, 2011: A Serb nationalist group protested Radio Free Europe’s use of a map that shows Kosovo was an independent nation.

 

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