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friends of kosova has written 1096 posts for Friends of Kosovo

The Poisoning Starts Again

Killing the insects, which kills the wildlife that feed on the insects. Last year there were dead birds that had eaten the insects, on the ground surrounded by starving cats, that would not attempt to eat the bird, yet people will inhale this poison. People in the street, will not have the protection of hazmat suits.

Causing cancer to those that inhale the air. If if it safe for humans then why are the those that are spraying it wearing hazmat suits? Why spray on a Saturday evening in the centre of Prishtina, when the city centre if full of people?

They ban fireworks against pollution and then spray poison on the ground!!! Mosquitos breed in stagnant water and that is where they should be killing the larvae, not spraying the centre where there is no stagnant water and the mosquitos just fly away.

Last year there were just as many mosquitos after the spraying as there were before it. It is the people they are poisoning with their glyphosate, which causes cancer and is banned in many countries.

According to Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, a U.S. law firm representing hundreds of plaintiffs suing Monsanto for allegedly causing their cancer, the following countries have banned or placed restrictions on the use of glyphosate:

  • Malta: Malta began the process of instituting countrywide ban of glyphosate. However, Environment Minister José Herrera backtracked in January of 2017, saying the country would continue to oppose glyphosate in discussions but would fall in line with the European Union and wait for further studies. In November of 2017, Malta was one of nine EU countries to vote against relicensing glyphosate. The country also signed a letter to the EU Commission in 2018 calling for “an exit plan for glyphosate…
  • Slovenia: Slovenia was one of six EU member states to sign a 2018 letter to the European Commission citing “concerns” about the risks associated with glyphosate. The letter called upon the Commission to introduce “an exit plan for glyphosate…”

Last year 6 more countries in the Middle East banned it.

So why hasn’t the U.S. banned glyphosate?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been conducting its required 15-year re-registration review of glyphosate since 2009. The agency was supposed to re-approve or ban the chemical by the end of 2015. But after the IARC panel of 17 scientists unanimously agreed glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen, the EPA was forced to take its review of the chemical more seriously.

Banned everywhere, but as sales of insecticides  plummet, the US sells it to Kosovo cheap, just like the banned medicines that are being sold in pharmacies in Kosovo. Kosovo lives don’t matter to them.

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Nesër, e shtunë, 4 gusht fillon faza e katërt e Dezinsektimit
Hapsinor në Komunën e Prishtinës . Kjo ditë është zgjedhur pas të gjitha pregatitjeve teknike dhe operative nga ana e Komunës dhe kompanisë kontraktuese dhe pasi që parashikimet klimatike sigurojnë në javë me mot stabil dhe pa reshje , për arsye se reshjet e ulin dukshëm efektin e dezinsektimit. Në rast të reshjeve të shiut , puna ndërpritet për të vazhduar ditën në vijim kurr kushtet atmosferike janë të favorshm

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Tomorrow, Saturday, August 4th begins the fourth stage of dezinsektimit
Space in the municipality of pristina. This day has been selected after all technical and operational projections on the side of the municipality and the contracting company, and since climate forecasts provide a week with stable weather and without precipitation, for reasons that the precipitation clearly decrease the effect of dezinsektimit. In Case of rain precipitation, the work is terminated to continue the following day never the atmospheric conditions are favourable.
Based on these data, kedhe this herw will be dezinsektohet the surface of 6200 hectares, including rural areas where there is high potential of development of these insect.
Even this year will be used safe preparatet registered for use in the countries of the European Union and the United States of America.
The Dezinsektimi will take place every day starting at 19:30 by 23:30, according to the dates below the specific neighborhood.04.08.2018: City Park, Aktash, qyteteza Payton, City Centre, neighborhood neighborhood, Vellushe (Blocks-house of elders), tophane

05.08.2018: Dardania, lakrishte, Arberia, shkabaj, ulpiana, industrial area, barracks adem jashari

06.08.2018: New Prishtina (Veternik, qendresa, Nic neighborhood), hill of valor and vneshtat

07.08.2018: Sun Coast, hospital neighborhood, kalabria, kolovice and new kolovicë

08.08.2018: Taslixhe, velan, gërmi, Mat, sofali, taukbashqe

09.08.2018: Hajvali, barilevë, prugovc, brnica of eperme and lower Bernice, besi, White,, teneshdoll of vranidoll

The Citizen s’ co-operation in this process is of a particular importance to the success of this process. So pray all citizens for co-operation so that this activity is as successful as possible. During the time of dezinsektimit, citizens have to keep the windows closed, not to put insects in and limit the exits through the spaces where the dezinsektimi is being conducted at least an hour. Also appealed to the associations associations, for caution added during this period. Monitoring this activity on the part of the pristina municipality will be constant, and in co-operation with citizens we will give the maximum for a more effective coefficient.

The Municipality of Prishtina

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Private sector workers are treated as slaves

Isuf Azemi, chairman of the Kosovo Private Sector Union, said that Kosovo private sector workers are treated as slaves.

He has said that “we still have employees who are paid 130 euros”.

Meanwhile, according to him, the number of workers who work without employment contracts reaches 50 to 60 percent.

“Perhaps the inspectorate did not find more than 12 percent, but it is evident that the Inspectorate a month before inspecting the companies tells that the inspection will be carried out. No workers can be found without contracts with cars and cars, “said Azemi, at the” Pulse “of KTV.

“Workers spend up to 1 thousand hours of work outside of their working hours within a year,” he said.

He has said that as trade unions are very confident in this data.

With these statistics Berat Rukiqi, newly elected chair of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce, was not accepted. He has said that the degree of informality in Kosovo is about 30 percent.

“I think we should be careful not to use too big terms, let’s say they are treated as slaves, however it can be said that the situation is not so good,” said Rukiqi.

As it protects businesses, head of the Chamber, he has said that most of the companies are faced with

The Deputy Chief Labor Inspector also disagreed with these figures.

“In the inspected subjects we found that 4.2 percent of employees did not have employment contracts,” he said.

He also talked about workplace death, when he showed that during the year 2018, 12 workers were killed in the workplace, 11 of them accidentally and 1 was a natural death.

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Flying Blind: Negligence, Nepotism and Graft at Kosovo Airport

Ejupi and Shileku have spent the last two years trying to raise the alarm about negligence and corruption at the Prishtina airport. | Photo: Atdhe Mulla.

Whistleblowers say lives are at risk from the scale of wrongdoing at Kosovo’s only international airport.

Bujar Ejupi has tired yet hawkish blue eyes beneath thick eyebrows. His skin is pale, his manner determined despite the threats and pressure of the past two years.

Ejupi, 37, was once deputy director and head of finances at Kosovo’s Air Navigation Service Agency, ANSA, the state body that manages air traffic at the country’s sole international airport run by a consortium between the private Turkish company Limak and Aeroports de Lyon since 2011.

Ejupi was fired in mid-2017, after a year in which he was repeatedly warned he would lose his job if he kept writing to the government about the negligence and mismanagement he had encountered.

He has spent most of the 12 months since trying to convince the police to take him seriously.

Ersen Shileku, the former head of operations at ANSA, faced a similar fate.

Now, after two years of Sisyphean effort to bring about change, the pair has gone public with allegations of nepotism, corruption and negligence that have led, among other things, to repeated power cuts and roadside repairs to a radar by a local car mechanic.

Air traffic control has effectively been handed to relatives of the man whose name Prishtina International Airport took in 2010, Adem Jashari – a revered guerrilla who was killed in 1998 along with 58 relatives in a hail of Serbian bullets as an armed rebellion against Serbian rule gathered pace.

Jobs have been handed out, Ejupi and Shileku say, to relatives of Kosovar politicians and to friends and family of senior managers, regardless of their qualifications. With more than 1.7 million passengers flying through the airport every year, they say lives are being put at risk.

“If something happens to flights and passengers, we would not be able to live with ourselves if we did not come forward and tell the public that the security and safety of flights is in jeopardy because of the deliberate negligence, lack of professionalism and the corruption that we saw,” Ejupi told BIRN.

The airport management disputes their accusations, some of which have also come to the attention of the European Union’s rule of law mission in Kosovo.

Kosovo’s only international airport is forever etched in history as the place where – as NATO soldiers took control of Kosovo from vanquished Serbian forces at the end of 11 weeks of air strikes – British general Michael Jackson rebuffed an order from the Western alliance’s US commander, Wesley Clark, to park helicopters on the runway to prevent Russian troops from reinforcing, telling him “Sir, I’m not going to start World War Three for you.” It was 1999.

Twelve years later, the airport became the object of newly-independent Kosovo’s first Public-Private Partnership, PPP, under which the Turkish-French consortium would run it for the next two decades on condition it invest 80 million euros in infrastructure upgrades, including construction of a new terminal. Limak holds 90 per cent of the shares in the consortium.

Kosovo’s government projected the deal would swell state coffers by 400 million euros over the course of the concession.

Three years later, the new terminal was inaugurated at a ceremony attended by Turkey’s then prime minister, now president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kosovo’s then prime minister, now president, Hashim Thaci.

“But behind the glitzy façade of this big terminal, there are a lot of things in the PPP agreement that remain undone – things that are key to aviation standards,” said Ejupi.

Bujar Ejupi, head of finances at the Air Navigation Services Agency, ANSA, says he was shocked by the negligence and mismanagement in the agency. | Photo: Atdhe Mulla.

They include: widening the airfield for a runway safety strip at a cost of roughly 3 million euros; more space to park planes, valued at 5 million euros; a de-icing platform worth 2 million euros and a 1.5 million euro training area for firefighters.

Nor does the airport have a second backup power generator, a must-have for many businesses in Kosovo due to the country’s unstable electricity supply, let alone for its sole international airport.

“We had a power cut the day (then US vice president) Joe Biden was about to land in Kosovo,” on August 16, 2016, said Shileku. “I had just been appointed in the job as head of operations so it was my job to investigate why we had a cut.”

“The question totally backfired on me,” he said. “After a few exchanges my boss told me not to push it any further.”

Shileku’s boss was Bahri Nuredini, appointed as head of ANSA in 2011 by Thaci. ANSA is largely in charge of the Air Traffic Control Tower, while Limak manages the airport itself.

Nuredini’s uncle on his mother’s side is 43-year-old Bekim Jashari, the head of the ANSA board from 2008 until January 2016 when he left to become mayor of Skenderaj, the main town in Kosovo’s Drenica region, heartland of the guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army that Thaci was a leader of.

Both Nuredini and Jashari were relatives of Adem Jashari, considered the KLA’s greatest martyr to the cause.

Ejupi estimates the failure to fulfill the contract has cost Kosovo roughly 14.5 million euros and that since 2011 the airport has made barely 30 million euros of the 400 million that the public purse was projected to reap over the 20-year concession.

“I started getting complaints from air traffic controllers that the tower was cold in the evenings and at nights when they had to operate flights,” said Ejupi. “This prompted me to check what was wrong with our heating system, only to find out it was never built by the Turkish company.”

Under the contract, Ejupi said, Limak “was obliged to build a tower with an independent heating and cooling system as well as a tower with continuous, 24/7 power supply – both of which we clearly did not have.”

Red flags have already been raised over the airport contract.

In two reports in 2014 and 2016, Kosovo’s National Audit Office warned about lax government oversight of the contract’s implementation.

The 2016 report complained that “the outstanding works are not finished yet and it is not specified when and how they will be finalised.”

Speaking to BIRN’s ‘Jeta ne Kosove’ program in April, Lorik Fejzullahu, the former head of the Private Public Partnership Unit within Kosovo’s finance ministry, said that Limak did not finish the works because it requires additional airfield space, which he said was occupied by KFOR, the NATO-led peacekeeping force stationed in Kosovo since 1999.

Limak could have walked away from the contract, he said, given the Kosovo government’s failure to secure the space needed from KFOR. “One day, sooner or later, Limak will have to do this remaining work,” said Fejzullahu.

KFOR, however, disputed this, saying it had received no such request to vacate airfield space.

“KFOR has not been involved directly in any planning or project for the improvement of Prishtina Airport facilities,” KFOR chief spokesperson Vincenzo Grasso told BIRN on July 11. “KFOR airport staff usually attend coordination meetings with Limak and sometimes those topics were mentioned, but KFOR was never blamed.”

“From what is visible on the ground and on the map, a possible extension of the runway and of the taxiway is not interfering with the part of the airport currently occupied by KFOR,” Grasso said.

Under the terms of the contract, the government has the right to fine Limak 10,000 euros per day for failure to complete the work. But it has yet to take this step, with Fejzullahu insisting “This is the best implemented contract in the region.”

Ejupi and Shileku say the delays are dangerous.

 

Ejupi first joined the airport staff in 2003 as an Aeronautical Information service supervisor, working up to the post of deputy commercial director before he left in 2013. He then joined Kosovo’s Riinvest Institute, authoring a 2015 report that detailed the shortcomings in the PPP deal and its implementation.Shileku was the airport’s Coordination Manager from 2001 to 2014, when he became a Quality and Safety Manager at Istanbul Airport for the next two years.

Given the clear and obvious links between high level officials at the airport and political figures it is unlikely that any such investigation could be done without interference by individuals in positions of influence and power.EULEX REPORT

When then Prime Minister Isa Mustafa appointed the pair to their ANSA posts in 2016, Ejupi believed the authorities were serious about putting things right.

BIRN has reviewed more than 30 letters and e-mails dating from August 2016 in which Ejupi and Shileku raised questions relating to the safety and security of flights and irregular activities regarding hiring, radar maintenance and suspicions of kick-backs paid to keep unfinished work under wraps.

They were sent, initially, to Mustafa, then Finance Minister Avdullah Hoti and then Transport Minister Lutfi Zharku. No one replied. Ejupi and Shileku repeated their complaints to the government of Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj that came to power in late 2017.

Asked about the concerns, Haradinaj told BIRN in December: “I am not a judge. The issues that they are reporting have to be investigated and dealt with by the courts.”

The whistleblowers have taken the matter to the police and prosecution and been interviewed. The police and the state prosecutor have told BIRN they are conducting a preliminary “collection of evidence” but no formal investigation has been launched almost a year since Ejupi and Shileku first complained.

A report by the EU’s rule of law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, expressed doubt about the effectiveness of any such investigation given the profile of those involved.

“[I]t is highly likely that there are serious safety issues, poor management practices and potential corruption taking place at the airport in Pristina that require further investigation,” said the report, written in late 2017 and leaked to BIRN early this year.

“Given the clear and obvious links between high level officials at the airport and political figures it is unlikely that any such investigation could be done without interference by individuals in positions of influence and power.”

In a letter to Kosovo’s Anti-Corruption Agency, dated August 31, 2017, Ejupi detailed 10 separate practices at the airport that raised suspicions of corruption.

They included the promotion of employees to positions they were not qualified for, the mismanagement of assets and budgets, the payment of salaries for employees who never came to work and a mismanaged, 7-million-euro contract to relocate radar equipment and software.

Asked about hiring practices, Nuredini admitted to BIRN that around a dozen ANSA employees were relatives or friends of his and Bekim Jashari. He said he had in fact asked Limak to hire his brother as a baggage handler, which the company did in 2013.

“It’s true I asked a friend in Limak if he could do this for me, if he could hire my brother as a seasonal worker,” said Nuredini“We’re not strangers; they showed understanding.”

The ANSA boss said other senior ANSA managers, past and present, had also helped relatives get hired at the airport.

BIRN’s investigation corroborated this. And one of those hires stands out.

Projected costs and earnings from the Prishtina International Airport concession.

BIRN was leaked an invoice showing that a company called H&B ShpK is being paid 10,000 euros per month by Limak for consultancy services.

Until recently, H&B ShpK was owned by a Kosovar named Murat Mecini. Mecini also happens to be the personal driver of Bekim Jashari, in Jashari’s current position of Skenderaj mayor as well as when he was head of the ANSA board.

Mecini is also a member of the extended Jashari family.

Asked what kind of services the driver of a significant political figure might be providing, Limak Kosovo CEO Haldun Firat Kokturk told the Jeta ne Kosove program: “He is providing consultancy… We have seasonal workers for cleaning and security sometimes. He coordinates that and provides reports.”

When asked whether he was aware that personal drivers in Kosovo are frequently used  as intermediaries for kick-backs, Kokturk replied: “It may smell like that to you…But… he is just the owner of the company. He has other workers working there.”

Mecini’s company, he said, “has connections” valuable for locating cleaners and security guards. BIRN asked for details regarding Mecini’s qualifications and the consultancy contract, but Limak declined to provide them.

During the course of this investigation, on February 14 this year, Mecini re-registered ownership of H&B to Ilker Yesilmenderes, a Turkish national. Kosovo’s business registry is a public record and names Mecini as owner of H&B ShpK from 2013 until Yesilmenderes took over.

Contacted by phone, Mecini told BIRN “my contracts are none of your concern.” Jashari did not respond to requests for comment.

According to BIRN’s findings, Limak’s employees include President Thaci’s nephew, Sinan Thaci, and the son of former Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni, Yll.

According to BIRN’s findings, Limak’s employees also include President Thaci’s nephew, Sinan Thaci, and the son of former Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni, Yll. Kadrie Buja, whose husband Shukri Buja was mayor of Lipjan – the municipality where the airport is located – was also on the books until her husbands’s tenure ended in 2013 and she was let go (Limak refused to comment these employments).

Ejupi and Shileku allege that such practices represent serious conflicts of interest and are unlikely to encourage strict monitoring of how well the PPP contract is being implemented.

Kokturk denied Limak hired staff based on their political connections.

“In this country, with a very small population, 1.7 million, everyone needs a job,” he said. “The one who asks for a job, it is not something to be ashamed of. It is good to ask for a job,” he said. It shows, he argued, that those in power are not asking for money or gifts.” They are “just willing to work.”

Ejupi cited the example of the non-existent second generator. Its absence was first noted in an ANSA inspection in 2014, two years before the power cuts began and before Ejupi joined the company.

“That inspection report was commissioned specially in order to identify what outstanding work Limak needed to finish,” he said.

According to copies seen by BIRN, a draft of the report from February 2014 notes the absence of a second generator. The final version, however, produced in September, describes the matter as “closed”, without elaborating.

Two years later, in August 2016, the lights went out three hours before Biden was due to land, a major political event in Kosovo where the United States enjoys significant clout and popularity as a major financial and diplomatic backer.

Shileku frantically started investigating. Driton Mehaj, head of the technical team, told him ANSA relied on a manual generator owned by Limak, which has to be powered up and takes several minutes to get going. Limak’s Kokturk also pointed to this generator as the backup power Limak was obliged to buy for ANSA.

“This worried me to death,” Shileku told BIRN. “Minutes in aviation are not something you should take lightly.”

Driton Gjonbalaj, head of Kosovo’s Civilian Aviation Authority, CAA, told Jeta ne Kosove in early 2018 that blackouts are common in the industry, citing recent power cuts in the US city of Atlanta and in Croatia. The CAA has certified ANSA as fit for service despite the lack of a second generator.

Nuredini also played down the danger, saying the main generator was up and running again within 24 minutes.

Only it happened again less than a year later, on June 27, 2017, when the power went and the UPS – an uninterruptible power supply that should kick in temporarily while power is restored – also failed. Planes disappeared from the screens of air traffic controllers and Skopje airport had to jump in until the power came back 12 minutes later, according to multiple accounts.

“When it happened the first time, and we lost power for 30 minutes, I found it unacceptable for us to rely on this sort of power supply,” Shileku said.

“It costs only 20,000 euros to have this equipment and even if the private investor wanted to cut corners and not invest in this, I am sure we could have gotten it if we had insisted on it.”

“I told my colleagues that even supermarkets in Kosovo buy a backup generator to look after their meat in the freezer and here we are dealing with people’s lives in the air.”

Nagip Goga, a welder and car mechanic in the town of Ferizaj south of the capital, recalled the day airport staff turned up and asked for his help. It was December 30, 2016, one of the busiest periods for the airport.

“They brought this rotary joint into my workshop and said it was urgent,” he told BIRN. “I weld it to the required size and when they tested it they said it worked.”

Little did Goga know but the joint was part of the airport’s navigation radar, which had broken down. A 7-million-euro contract between ANSA and the equipment supplier TCN for maintenance of the radar had been terminated by TCN three months earlier over late payments by ANSA, according to documents reviewed by BIRN.

With no maintenance cover and no spare parts in storage, ANSA called neighbouring airports to see if it could borrow a spare rotary joint. Tirana agreed and a number of ANSA workers were dispatched to pick it up. It turned out the spare did not fit Prishtina’s radar, hence Goga the welder’s bit-part in restoring operations.

After a power cut at the airport, Ersen Shileku, head of operations at ANSA, asked for a risk assessment. It was never done. | Photo: Atdhe Mulla.

Shileku said the episode was eye-opening.

“For anybody that produces radars it is unacceptable to have spare parts be modified by anyone not authorised to work on such sensitive equipment,” he said.

Gjonbalaj of the CAA, however, was unperturbed, saying an authorised ANSA engineer supervised Goga’s work, meaning flight safety was never in jeopardy.

“The CAA guarantees that the services [navigating signal] offered by that radar are in accordance with all safety standards,” he said.

The CAA’s own website, however, bases safety and risk assessment standards on European Commission regulation 1035/20011, according to which providers of air traffic services must ensure that sub-contractors “have and maintain sufficient knowledge and understanding of the services they are supporting”.

Goga was reluctant to offer any guarantees for his work.

“Of course, I’m no aviation expert, nor have I ever worked on navigation equipment before so I’m not qualified to offer any guarantees on this part,” he said.

The episode epitomised the airport’s failure to invest in expertise, Ejupi said.

“You have to ensure that the people dealing with the navigation equipment are professionals, and more importantly that we have the procedures in place to respond professionally once this equipment breaks down,” he said.

Such measures, he said, “can end up saving lives.”

Two air-traffic controllers at the airport, who spoke on condition of anonymity given their continued employment at ANSA, complained that they were working on sub-standard software because the contract with the radar supplier, TCN, had ended before the hardware had been integrated. That has left them working on a different signal to their counterparts at other airports in the Balkans.

Asked about the oversight, Nuredini said the work would be completed with extra funds in 2018.

Nuredini fired  Ejupi on August 14, 2017; the Kosovo government confirmed his dismissal in January 2018.

Ejupi said he refused to leave without a written explanation for his dismissal, so Nuredini called security.

The ANSA boss denies having Ejupi thrown out by security but did say he was fired for “having poked his fingers into contracts, as it’s not his job to inspect things.”

Ejupi was replaced as ANSA deputy director in June this year by Shpetim Selmanaj, a member of Prime Minister Haradinaj’s co-ruling AAK party. Selmanaj was secretary of the AAK youth forum, a personal assistant to Haradinaj and has overseen river cleaning projects (he admitted to being an AAK member but did not comment further on his recruitment).

Ejupi applied for his old job when it was advertised, but did not hear back. “Clearly, politicians would rather not see professionals running things, but society does,” he said.

“In aviation, one cannot wait for things to go wrong and only then mobilise to fix them,” he said. “It will be too late to fix things once they go wrong.”

Design by Jeta Dobranja, Trembelat. Development by Faton Selishta and Lend Kelmendi, Kutia. Graphics by Bardh Ulaj, Trembelat.  Photography by Atdhe Mulla. Videography by Fatrion Ibrahimi.

source and more: Prishtina Insight

Kosovo Has Forgiven Turkey’s Interference Too Easily

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Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan greet citizens during the visit in the southern Kosovo’s town of Prizren, 2010. Photo: EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

   

Kosovo may rely in part on Turkish goodwill – but it should not have forgotten so rapidly the recent, secretive and highly controversial deportation of six Turks from the country.

Nektar Zogjani BIRN

The recent arrests of two Turkish citizens in Azerbaijan and Ukraine – who were then deported to Turkey to face charges of alleged links with the exiled Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen – has added to the fears felt the Turkish diaspora about people’s safety.

The secret operation, which Turkish state media said took place last Thursday, has made it clear that following his sweeping victory in snap elections on June 24, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to continue seizing and silencing his critics in the diaspora.

This news has sparked fresh fears in Kosovo, where the Turkish community suffered a similar experience recently.

On March 29, Kosovo police secretly arrested and deported six Turkish nationals, reportedly without the knowledge of the country’s own government.

While the families of the deportees and human rights organizations are still up in the arms over this, the incident seems to have been forgiven by Kosovo President Hashim Thaci.

He was one of a handful of European leaders to attend Erdogan’s presidential oath-taking ceremony in Ankara on July 9.

Few people in Kosovo expected Thaci to express any real concerns to Erdogan – assuming Erdogan had any time to meet the Kosovo President during the ceremony – even though such a scandal, in normal circumstances, would surely have strained relations between the two countries.

When the deportation was revealed, Thaci was notably more muted than other leaders in Kosovo, including Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, Assembly Speaker Kadri Veseli, as well as representatives of the opposition parties.

After Haradinaj dismissed his interior minister and intelligence chief for failing to inform him of the operation, Erdogan – in front of thousands of Turks – slated Haradinaj for his actions. He also warned Kosovo to expect similar actions in future. Such a threat should be taken seriously.

“Our National Intelligence Service picked up six of their senior managers during an operation in Kosovo and brought them here. But I’m saddened. The Kosovo prime minister has dismissed the chief of intelligence and the interior minister. Now I ask: ‘Hey, Kosovo prime minister – who told you to do this?’” Erdogan was quoted as saying.  

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan inspect the honour guard in Pristina, Kosovo, 2010. Photo: EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

However, Thaci is the one who is supposed to bear the responsibility of responding to such actions, especially given his insistence on his indispensable role in Kosovo’s foreign policy.

Yet Thaci remained mostly silent about the arrest and deportation of six Turks, and then failed to react again after Erdogan, in his reply to the Kosovo government, continued to interfere with what should be Kosovo’s internal issues.

Although the deportation “incident” triggered harsh reactions in Kosovo [as well as triumphant reactions in Turkey], the story was eventually overshadowed by other regional and global developments, quickly heading towards collective oblivion.

Kosovo has not taken any measures even against the Turkish company that is believed to have deceived the Kosovo authorities when getting a permit to carry out a commercial flight from Pristina airport, while being involved in the deportation of the Turks.

The question arising from that experience, as well as from the more recent one from Azerbaijan and Ukraine is – is Kosovo opening its doors to other countries to interfere in its internal affairs through its silence in face of that event?

One could argue, of course, that Thaci simply could not miss the ceremony in Ankara.

Thaci and Erdogan have cemented a close relationship over the past years. Given that Thaci has been shunned by Western leaders since he was elected President of Kosovo, it was an ideal occasion for him to travel outside Kosovo, without having to meet his Serbian counterpart as a part of the difficult “normalization of relations” process.

Kosovo and Turkey in general have friendly relations and Thaci’s visit to Ankara should be viewed in the context of advancing this relationship.

Despite that, in the circumstances, the visit could and should have also served as an opportunity for Thaci to raise the issue of the deportation of six Turkish citizens from Kosovo in a deeply suspicious fashion.

While Kosovo has failed to protect itself from obvious interference from Turkey and react in relation to the arrested Turks, it has not missed opportunities to react to other countries on other occasions.

On July 10, the Kosovo Police arrested five Serbs, who, according to Assembly Speaker Veseli, had been threatening members of the Kosovo Security Force, KSF, pressuring them to leave the force.

Reportedly, a number of Serbian members of the KSF have resigned due to what the Kosovo authorities assess as direct pressure from Belgrade.

In the case of Turkey, if is too late now for any concrete actions in response to the deportation of the six Turkish citizens, but Kosovo should at least declaratively continue to protest over such actions.

As with the case of the Serbs, Kosovo has a responsibility to protect minority communities living in Kosovo.

It should be noted also that Kosovo itself has a history of interfering in affairs of neighbouring countries.

Prime Minister Haradinaj has allocated financial aid for the families of the so-called Kumanova Group – a group of men who have been jailed in Macedonia in connection with an armed shoot-out with the police.

Such aid could be considered evidence that Kosovo in some way directly supported the aims of that group, whose ultimate goal remains unclear.

Ten years after declaring independence, Kosovo continues to face serious problems internally and externally.

The country cannot pretend to be a normal state without maintaining equal and fair relations with other countries.

But with Turkey, unfortunately, it seems that Kosovo not only has forgiven but has even forgotten what happened on its soil only a few months ago.

The article was written as part of the project “Western Balkans at the Crossroads: Assessing Non-Democratic External Influence Activities,” led by the Prague Security Studies Institute. For more information follow the link: http://www.pssi.cz/special-projects/western-balkans.

source

Terrorist Fake films claiming there was a chemical attack

Proof the terrorists staged the chemical attack in Douma.

Terrorists in Syria use their own children over and over again, when they make their FAKE films claiming there has been a chemical attack on Syrian civilians by the government.

Same old story to save their skins and start a world war. Why do governments believe this bullshit.

The terrorists have since surrendered and the civilians that were kept in cages as hostages have now been released and taken to safety by the Syrian Government last night.

Today the terrorists have been taken from Douma on buses, all sign of a chemical attack forgotten. Now the government will be able to see how many deaths, if any had been killed by chlorine or not.

In other parts of East Ghouta a house was found containing a chemical weapons

US Embassy in Kosovo Shows Support for Terrorism

Friends of Syria

The US Embassy in Kosovo has published a photo on their Facebook page which includes the terrorists FSA flag. The article is to invite students from around the world to travel to the US and take part in the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute.

The hypocrisy of the Ambassador to Kosovo Greg Delawie who has posted this image straight after a post of him meeting with the Grand Mufti in Kosovo talking about extremist groups.

Even though Donald Trump wants to stop Muslims from certain countries travelling to the US, it seems they are quite happy to invite terrorists. This photo openly shows that the US Ambassador to Kosovo Greg Delawie is supporting terrorist groups.

A reminder of some of the work of the FSA terrorist group, that the US is willing to allow into the US.

Please go to the Facebook page and comment about the US supporting and…

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Kosovo’s general consulate attacked in France (Photo)

The Consul of Kosovo in Strasbourg, Edon Cana, has announced that the general consulate in Strasbourg has been attacked during the weekend.

Cana also announced that the Kosovo flag was also stolen and that the state emblem was destroyed.

Read his full post on Facebook:

“The General Consulate in Strasbourg was attacked during the weekend and the Flag of the Republic was stolen and the State Emblem was destroyed.

Symbols of the State of Kosovo hinder our enemies!

Thanking the French authorities for their support, we are convinced that after forensics the attackers will soon be found. ” (Sic). / Telegraph /

Consulate before the attack

Consulate after the attack

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Cars to be barred from entering Prishtina starting Wednesday

Public transportation in Prishtina. | Photo courtesy of Radio TV 21.

Prishtina will adopt an emergency ban on cars and coal to address ‘hazardous’ levels of air pollution.

Deputy Mayor of Prishtina Selim Pacolli announced that cars will be barred from accessing the center of Prishtina starting at 6:00 am on Wednesday. The ban, part of an agreed plan between the Municipality of Prishtina and the Ministry of Environment, will be in force every day between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm until further notice.

All cars will be banned from circulating in downtown Prishtina, with the exception of buses managed by the public enterprise ‘Trafiku Urban,’ which will be offering free rides during this emergency period.

“We will only block the access of vehicles. Only the center will be blocked for vehicles because it is the most affected part. Public transport within this timeframe will be free of charge. This decision comes into effect on January 31 until another decision is made,” Pacolli said.

The emergency plan to “alleviate” the city from high levels of pollution that have been reported in the past few days will affect the main boulevards Bill Clinton, Deshmoret e Kombit, the roundabout in Ulpiana, and Ilir Konushevci Street.

The plan also includes a ban on the sale of coal within Prishtina city limits.

Muhedin Nushi, the city’s administration director, said that at least 40 inspectors will be monitoring and preventing any sale of coal in Prishtina.

Cars coming from outside of the city will have to use alternative roads and will not be able to access the city center. Nushi said that the plan would also affect private bus companies, which will also have to use alternative roads.

“Buses with transport routes from other places will use alternative roads if there are any. These are emergency measures, it is for the good of the citizens. We are going through an emergency phase to improve the situation,” he said.

Nushi asked citizens to not use vehicles at this time, but said that the decision does not include parking spots.

“We have not designated parking spots for vehicles, we ask for understanding so that vehicles are not used at this time. We will discuss the measures against people who do not respect the rules, but as of now there are no punitive measures,” Nushi concluded.

The extraordinary conference was called after citizens and officials sounded an alarm over hazardous levels of air pollution

source

What Happened That Night

Spark Blog

(feature photo: Donna Ferrato)

Albanian translation

Many of you have heard that the Kosovo government withdrew funding from Women’s shelters because of funding issues. The shelters were closed without warning in late December. Women and children were thrown out. Only one shelter in Gjakova was able to stay open. However it could not accept new clients. 65,000 Euros was given to the shelters in emergency government funding last Friday allowing them to reopen-for now.

In Kosovo, we are often inundated with political news. But we wanted to know how women and children and the people who work with them were affected by the shutdown.

According to Kosovo Police figures from 2014, there are 1,000 reported cases of domestic violence annually. 80% of these cases are women. Children and elderly comprise the rest of the cases. Usually the perpetrator is the male head of household. The shelter system is essential…

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Suspected Kosovo organ-trafficker arrested in Cyprus

Moshe Harel, who heads an international israeli ring selling body parts

A man suspected of trafficking in human organs has been arrested in Cyprus. Israeli national Moshe Harel faces extradition to Kosovo, where he is accused of luring kidney donors from Turkey and the ex-Soviet Union a decade ago.

Harel is accused of promising up to $14,500 in payment to donors, with the extracted organs reportedly being sold on to mainly Israeli recipients for as much as $120,000. Some donors were reportedly never paid.

Interpol and Russia had issued international arrest warrants for Harel. His extradition is now being requested by the authorities in Kosovo – a province of Serbia that declared independence in 2008, but remains unrecognized by the UN and a number of countries, including Cyprus.

“Based on an international arrest warrant the suspect M.H. was arrested a few days ago in Cyprus. He has been a wanted person since 2010,” Baki Kelani, a spokesman for Kosovo police, told Reuters.

Harel is accused of being one of nine people involved in the organ-trafficking ring, run from a clinic in a residential area in Pristina. Their alleged activities were discovered in 2008, when a Turkish man complained of pain at Pristina airport after his kidney was removed.

In 2013, the director of the clinic, Lutfi Dervishi, and his son Arban were sentenced to eight and seven years respectively for their part in the group’s activities. Both men later went into hiding.

Dervishi was captured last year and retried, along with several others involved in the case. The trial is still ongoing. His son and a Turkish doctor, Yusuf Sonmez, are still on the run.

Kosovo is no stranger to cases of alleged organ harvesting, and local authorities have been particularly sensitive to accusations of the kind, ever since a former UN prosecutor accused the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) of harvesting human organs from Serbs captured and killed during and after the 1998-99 conflict. KLA leaders, now influential politicians, denied the charges and called them a ploy to challenge the province’s independence.

An EU-commissioned inquiry led by an American prosecutor concluded in 2014 that “this practice did occur on a very limited scale and that a small number of individuals were killed for the purpose of extracting and trafficking their organs.”

source

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