Turkey's Ergenekon (massive army conspiracy to overthrow the government) case continues to drag on. The latest claim (which is under investigation) by one defendant is that the government is using fabricated evidence against one suspect in the alleged anti-government conspiracy case. The defendant is claiming that police planted the phone numbers of an illegal militant Muslim organization (the Hizb ut-Tahrir group) on his cell phone. Some 200 Turkish citizens have been detained in the alleged ultra-nationalist conspiracy.
January 28, 2011: Some 10,000 Albanians held a protest in Albania's capital, Tirana. The protestors held a memorial for three Albanians who were killed in anti-government demonstrations earlier in the month where some demonstrators fought with police. Those demonstrations began as a protest against alleged government corruption.
The Romanian government said that it does not have and has never had territorial claims on the country of Moldova. The government said that it abides by the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947 which set Moldova's borders. Romania does support what it calls the territorial integrity of Moldova. This is code language for ending the Transdniestr problem. Transdniestr is a pro-Russian separatist enclave in Moldova.
January 27, 2011: Greek sources claimed the Turkish Navy frigate, the Yildirim, illegally entered Greek territorial waters. The Turkish ship sailed between the islands of Skyros and Evia. This may be a case of tit for tat, but this is tit for tat with heavy duty military forces. The alleged Turkish naval violation of Greek waters comes one day after the Turkish military claimed that Greek Air Force M-2000 and F-16 fighters intercepted Turkish F-16 jets in international air space over the Aegean Sea, north of Greek island of Ikaria and northwest of the island of Lesbos.
January 22, 2011: The Albanian government issued arrest orders for six members of the National Guard (national internal security force). The guardsmen are charged in the deaths of three demonstrators who were killed during a protest outside of the prime minister's office. Several demonstrations have occurred, with the central demands being new elections and the end of government corruption.
January 19, 2011: Turkey is continuing to develop a close economic and political relationship with Iraqi Kurdistan. Critics are accusing Turkey of using soft power to get Iraqi Kurds to oppose the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which the Turks consider terrorists. The critics are right. Turkish businesses are pumping money into northern Iraq. Better yet, Iraqi Kurds are buying Turkish products (lots of building materials and food). Turkish universities are conducting cultural seminars. A major oil pipeline runs from Iraq through Turkey, so Turkey has an investment in Iraqi stability. From 20 to 25 percent of Iraq's oil exports flow through the Turkish pipeline. The more oil Iraq pumps, the more Turkey makes in transmission fees. That bilateral trade between Turkey and Iraq was believed to be over six billion dollars in 2010. The knock on Turkey is that the exercise in soft power is neo-Ottomanist, ie, an echo of Ottoman imperialism. At one time the Ottoman Turks controlled Mesopotamia (Iraq). The Turkish government says Turkish businesses see Iraq as a good investment.
January 17, 2011: Cypriot Greek and Turk negotiators continue to struggle over the property issue. Turkish Cypriots have land claims in the south, but the biggest problem is Greek claims on the Turkish side of the island. A lot of people are involved, some 210,000 displaced Cypriots and their heirs (and the majority of the displaced were Greek). Remember, the Turkish Army landed in 1974 in order to block a Greek Cypriot attempt to unite the island with Greece. But 37 years is a long time and many of the property owners are dead. Now their heirs and estates fight over the rights. As it is, many Cypriots have land and property claims issues in the courts. In some cases they are fighting over houses and business structures that no longer exist. The old structures have been demolished and new buildings have replaced them. Negotiators contend that resolving the property issue will pave the way for creating a new Cypriot federation. Several options have been discussed, all involving restitution for direct loss, other forms of compensation and possible property exchange deals.
January 15, 2011: Turkish police arrested 32 members of the violent Turkish Hezbollah organization. This came after raids on Turkish Hezbollah safe houses and targets in four different cities.
January 9, 2010: Prosecutors with the EULEX (European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo) judicial and police contingent charged two Kosovar Albanian commanders with war crimes. The alleged crimes (illegal detention of civilians) were committed in base camps inside Albania during the 1998-1999 war between Kosovar Albanian insurgents and Serbia.
January 8, 2010: The prime ministers of Greece and Turkey said that they were continue to pursue better ties. The leaders discussed Greece's intent o build a border barrier between Greece and Turkey to keep out illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants seeking to enter the European Union use Turkey as a transit corridor. The leaders acknowledged that the Cyprus issue remains a problem between the two countries.
January 4, 2011: Greece announced that it will build a 12 kilometer long fence along a section of its border with Turkey.