Ethnic Albanian organizations announce demonstration; in the background a smaller item from the 'Skopje 2014' project.

Fear & Loathing in Macedonia

Today, there´s no war in Macedonia, and there hasn´t been for more than eleven years. So why do the people who fled their homes a few kilometers from the capital during the armed conflict between ethnic Albanian insurgents and government forces in 2001 still live in ‘temporary housing’? The refugees themselves and the people who today live in Aracinovo give very different answers. In that way, the Aracinovo case is emblematic for the overall atmosphere in Macedonia and for how the two largest ethnic groups in the country see each other.

Apparently, it´s now all coming to a head.

Continue reading “Fear & Loathing in Macedonia”

Watch Next in Line’s panel discussion live online

Watch Next in Line’s panel discussion live online

Transitions and its partner, RESPEKT, will present a panel discussion on the Balkans and EU Enlargement. The event, which will be held at the Hub (Drtinova 10, Prague 5) today at 18:00 CET, will feature journalists from around the region. The event will also be live broadcast online here. Continue reading “Watch Next in Line’s panel discussion live online”

Jasna strona ciemności

Czy można sobie wyobrazić życie w kraju, gdzie przez ponad pół roku panują egipskie ciemności, a przez resztę czasu słońce udaje, że świeci? Kraju, gdzie lato to pora roku z temperaturą około 10 stopni Celsjusza. Kraju, gdzie pogoda tak determinuje życie ludzi, że nawet najpopularniejszy blog o sprawach polityczno-społecznych nazywa się The Icelandic weather report, czyli prognoza pogody dla Islandii. Nie, dopóki się tego nie doświadczy na własnej skórze. Continue reading “Jasna strona ciemności”

The Balkans—Our New EU Partners

RESPEKT and Transitions are pleased to invite you to a panel discussion on EU enlargement at the Hub (Drtinova 10, Praha 5) on Wednesday 21 November at 18:00. The event will also be live webcast here on Continue reading “The Balkans—Our New EU Partners”

During the nut harvest, weddings and vacations are cancelled and some restaurants close down in Ordu, because every hand is sorely needed.

Three Tons of Nuts for Cinderella

ORDU, Turkey. Two kids are crouching amidst the branches of a thick bush. The siblings Semanur (12) and Ibrahim (14) are nimbly picking spiny rosettes of hazelnuts from the ground and throwing them in a bucket. Their small hands have to pull the branches of the hazel tree closer to shake off more nuts. Instead of attending school, the sister and her older brother spend six months travelling across Turkey to find work. Just like other tens of thousands of Turkish children, they set out in the spring to harvest tomatoes and apricots, and in the autumn they dig potatoes and pick cotton. But now, as the summer draws to an end, all the children head towards the north where the harvesting of hazelnuts is in full swing. Continue reading “Three Tons of Nuts for Cinderella”

A Macedonian army reservists tank crew at the battle for the village of Aracinovo. Photo by Military Journal/Wikimedia Commons.

Macedonia’s Cooling-Off Period

SKOPJE | Macedonia has two recent histories: one for ethnic Macedonians and another for the ethnic Albanians who make up about a quarter of the population. Continue reading “Macedonia’s Cooling-Off Period”

Cultural Differences and Minority Rights in Turkey

Cultural Differences and Minority Rights in Turkey

Although an increasing number of people have been practicing religion in Turkey, this doesn’t pose a threat to secular society, because of the decisive role of the advocates of a secular republic. In spite of the social diversity, cultural conflicts in Turkey are relatively rare compared to those in other countries of the Islamic world. However, two minority issues remain unsolved. Continue reading “Cultural Differences and Minority Rights in Turkey”

Under communism, Tirana’s madrasa was shut down for 25 years. It reopened in 1990.

In Albania, Madrasas Even the Secular Love

TIRANA | It’s the first week of the new school year and teenage boys race down corridors, shouting and laughing, on their way to the next class. In the tented gymnasium in back of the school, girls are taking phys ed. Continue reading “In Albania, Madrasas Even the Secular Love”

Aspects of Durres: The 15th-century Venetian Tower in the foreground with the new building on the site of Prince William of Wied's home behind it. The cranes of the port are visible at top right.

Ancient Durres Battles to Preserve its Past

TIRANA | Visitors to Durres, Albania’s oldest city, often pose in front of the bronze figure of John Lennon, sitting on a bench just outside a 15-story luxury apartment tower near the port. Few notice the unmarked remnant of a Roman wall to the side of the building, and fewer still, unless they are locals, know that an Ottoman-era building associated with the early days of Albanian independence used to stand there.

Continue reading “Ancient Durres Battles to Preserve its Past”

The ever-bustling Istiklal pedestrian street.

Turkey and the EU: Between hope and disillusion

Turkish society benefits more from the preparations for joining the European Union than it would from membership itself. The EU needs a prosperous Turkey more than Turkey needs the Union. In Istanbul, you often hear such views expressing both hope and disillusion in potential EU membership. Continue reading “Turkey and the EU: Between hope and disillusion”