News from Central and Eastern Europe, Wednesday 5th June 2013

BULGARIA

The Sofia Globe: Bulgaria has held more than 200 would-be illegal immigrants so far this year. ‘The latest arrest by Bulgarian border police of would-be illegal migrants, six people who said they were from Syria and Palestine, brings the number of people attempting illegal border crossings into Bulgaria to more than 230.

The warmer weather is seeing an increase in the number of attempts at illegal migration.

Between January and the end of April 2013, the number of people detained was about 98, going by statements by Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry.

Between the beginning of May and June 4, the total was 116.

In line with the trends of months, many of those attempting illegal entry are from Syria, currently seized by widespread violence under the Assad regime.’

GREECE

Ekathimerini: SYRIZA MP questions minister over Kurdish asylum seeker’s ‘kidnap’. SYRIZA MP Dimitris Tsoukalas asked the government on Tuesday to explain what it knows about the alleged abduction of a Turkish asylum seeker in Athens and his handover to Turkish authorities.

It was alleged over the weekend by human rights activists that Bulut Yayla was bundled into a car in the central Athens neighborhood of Exarchia on Thursday night and that the next time his whereabouts were known, he was being held by authorities in Istanbul.’

Reuters: Far-right Greeks push for law jailing illegal immigrants. ‘Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party hit back at plans for an anti-racism law on Tuesday by submitting its own draft bill to fight “racism against Greeks” by jailing all illegal immigrants.

Members of Greece’s ruling coalition have been squabbling for days over the details of legislation aimed at curbing a rise in attacks on migrants.

The law is widely seen as an attempt to rein in Golden Dawn, which has tapped into widespread anger against austerity and corruption to become the third most popular party in the country.’

HUNGARY

Politics.hu: Human Resources Minister meets human rights leader attacked by racist football fans. ‘Human resources minister Zoltan Balog on Monday met Ferenc Orosz, head of the Raoul Wallenberg Association, who was assaulted at a football match in April, the ministry told MTI in a statement.

At the meeting, Orosz handed over a package of proposals designed to prevent racist expressions at sports events. The minister pledged to forward the document to the Hungarian Football Association and personally contribute to their implementation, the statement said.’

Hungarian justice minister blasts EC commissioner Reding for “extreme bias against Hungary”. ‘Justice Minister Tibor Navracsics on Monday criticised European justice commissioner Viviane Reding for “extreme bias against Hungary” reflected by her recent statements published in Austrian daily Der Standard.

“Viviane Reding’s latest attack on Hungary in the Austrian daily Der Standard not only shows extreme bias against Hungary, but also ignorance of the history of her own country’s constitution,” according to a ministry statement.

While Reding has condemned Hungary for the constitutional amendments, “Luxembourg – the Commissioner’s native country – amended its constitution twelve times between 2003 and 2009, and six times in the six months between December 1988 and June 1989,” the statement said.

“Therefore we would ask the Commissioner to examine her own country’s constitutional history before expressing an opinion on constitutional issues in other countries,” it added.’

RUSSIA

Ria Novosti: N.Caucasus City Mayor Charged in Murder Case. ‘The mayor of the capital of Russia’s restive Dagestan region has been formally charged in the murder of a local investigator, the Chief Investigative Directorate of Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Tuesday.

The investigation believes Said Amirov, mayor of the city of Makhachkala in the Russian North Caucasus, was the mastermind behind the December 2011 killing of investigator Arsen Gadzhibekov in the Dagestan city of Kaspiysk, the committee said in a statement on its website.’

Duma May Approve Same-Sex Adoption Ban by July 6. ‘The lower chamber of the Russian Parliament, the State Duma, may approve an amendment banning adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples before summer recess begins on July 6, a committee chief said on Tuesday.

Yelena Mizulina, a member of the A Just Russia party who heads the State Duma’s Committee on Family, Women and Children, said the committee discussed the amendment on Tuesday.

The amendment to the Russian Family Code, if passed, will ban the adoption of Russian children by foreign citizens, persons without citizenship and Russian nationals permanently living abroad, who are in a same-sex marriage.

“In addition, the ban will also be applicable to single foreigners from countries where same-sex marriages are permitted by the law, as well as stateless persons and Russians who permanently reside in these countries,” Mizulina told RIA Novosti.’

RUVR: Police patrol comes under fire in Dagestan. ‘Gunmen fired at a police unit not far from the village of Novo-Sasitli, the Khasavyurt district of Dagestan, the Dagestani Interior Ministry said.

None of the policemen were harmed, and the attackers are being searched for, it said. Police stopped a car for an ID check on the outskirts of the village, but the driver and passengers abandoned the car and fled into a nearby forest, it said.’

TURKEY

The Guardian: Fear and loathing grips Turkey as anti-Erdogan protests gather pace. ‘Beneath the trees of Istanbul’s Gezi park, a group of students was debating the tumultuous events of the past six days. Their unprecedented protest against Turkey’s prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, wasn’t exactly a revolution, they agreed. So what was it: an awakening, a renaissance or a citizen’s revolt?

What started last week as a small protest against Erdogan’s plans to demolish the park has morphed into something much bigger: a non-political mass movement, driven by popular outrage at brutal police tactics. Erdogan has abrasively dismissed his opponents as looters, marauders and bums. On Tuesday his deputy Bulent Arinc struck a more emollient tone, apologising for earlier police violence. He also offered to meet their leaders.

But in reality, the thousands who gathered spontaneously again in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, next to the park, do not have an ideology or party political identity. They are non-led. What they share is a keen sense of grievance against Erdogan personally. They accuse him of, among other things, bad ruling habits and developing increasingly pharaoh-like tendencies.’

Press TV: Turkish protesters reject government apology, continue demos‘On Tuesday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told a news conference in Ankara, “The excessive violence that was used in the first instance against those who were behaving with respect for the environment is wrong and unfair. I apologize to those citizens.”

Arinc called for the unrest to end, saying the protests had been taken over by “terrorist elements”.

The demonstrators took to the streets again on Tuesday evening in defiance of their government’s apology and plea to end the protests, which have escalated into deadly unrest in cities across Turkey.

The protesters flooded Istanbul’s Taksim Square, yelling defiance at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who earlier dismissed them as “extremists” and “vandals”.’

Translated from German – Zeit Online: Turkish police arrest Twitter user. ‘Police in Turkey have arrested at least 25 people, because these “misleading and insulting information” on Twitter in connection with anti-government protests have spread to. After about ten other suspects, the authorities were still in the city of Izmir, the state-run Anatolia news agency. Ali Engin, a local representative of the opposition Republican People’s Party, said the arrests were made ​​because “incitement to protest” . He foresaw an imminent release.

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already issued a few days ago critically about social media. “There is something called Twitter -. A plague The biggest lies are found here,” Erdoğan said. “For me, social media is the worst threat to society.” After the first violent attacks by the police against demonstrators in Istanbul on Friday Twitter became the main information platform for the protests . Despite his criticism of Erdoğan also owns a Twitter account and has more than 2.74 million followers.’

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