Balkan Briefs

7 April 2010
Turk envoy who took flak for diplomatic row with Israel to return to Ankara

ANKARA (AFP) – Turkey’s ambassador to Israel, who was at the center of a major diplomatic row earlier this year, is to be posted back to Ankara, newspaper reports said on Sunday. Ambassador Oguz Celikkol’s reassignment – one of several top-level diplomatic appointments proposed by the Foreign Ministry that has yet to become official – comes some five months after he took over the embassy in Israel. In January, he became the center of tensions between the two states when Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon gave him a public dressing-down to protest a Turkish television series for showing Israel in a bad light. During the meeting, Ayalon told reporters in Hebrew that the envoy was made to sit on a low couch and that the Turkish flag was removed from their table as an unsuspecting Celikkol smiled. An infuriated Turkey promptly threatened to recall the ambassador. Tensions were resolved after Israel issued a formal apology. Celikkol will be replaced by Kerim Uras, who is currently the deputy director of the foreign ministry’s Cyprus department, the reports added.

Rally cry from Albanian opposition

TIRANA (AFP) – Albania’s opposition called on supporters yesterday to join forces for a wide popular movement against the government of Prime Minister Sali Berisha, accusing him of vote fraud in the last elections. “The time has come for a big popular movement in order to accelerate the end of this government, responsible for electoral fraud, but also for other social and economic injustice,” said Edi Rama, leader of the main opposition Socialist party. “The protests will be organized daily in different towns in the country, before a big protest in Tirana on April 30,” Rama, also mayor of Tirana, told reporters at the press conference. Albania’s ruling center-right party and opposition parties have been locked in a dispute over legislative elections held last June, which were won by the coalition led by Berisha’s Democrats.

More ‘coup’ arrests

Turkish police have detained eight retired army officers, including four generals, as part of an investigation into an alleged plot by elements of the fiercely secular military seeking to topple the Islamic-rooted government, the state news agency said yesterday. Police confirmed the crackdown but would not say how many people had been detained. The Anatolia agency said without citing sources that police staged raids in 14 cities Monday. Private NTV television, citing unidentified judicial officials, said prosecutors had ordered the detention of 95 suspects, mostly active-duty officers. (AP)

Famous surgeon dies

Internationally renowned Serbian sex change surgeon Sava Perovic has died in Belgrade aged 72, local media reported yesterday. Perovic, a respected urologist, began gender reassignment surgery in the 1980s in Belgrade and soon became a leading expert. With his team, he performed a number of surgeries abroad, mostly in Asia, including urologic and genital corrective procedures. Perovic died after a long illness, the reports said without giving details. His funeral is scheduled to be held on Thursday in Belgrade. (AFP)


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