INTERVIEW: “The weekend’s protests were the Russian peoples’, not the opposition’s” – Maxim Reznik
Western Balkans citizens legally resident in EU equal to 14% of region’s population
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has stripped Belarus of the right to hold the World Championship this year
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Russia's retailer X5 Group posts 13% sales growth in 4Q20
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Western Balkans and Ukraine urged to scrutinise coal subsidies
Oligarchs trying to derail Ukraine’s privatisation programme, warns the head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund
VISEGRAD BLOG: Central Europe's populists need a new strategy for Biden
LONG READ: The oligarch problem
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Czech MPs pass protectionist food law in violation of EU rules
M&A in Central and Eastern Europe fell 16% in value in 2020, says CMS report
Hungarian vehicle makers hit by supply chain shortage
COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
Polish industrial production continues boom in December
OUTLOOK 2021 Poland
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
Pandemic pushes public debt close to 80% of GDP in Albania and Montenegro
BALKAN BLOG: Superstition and resentment surround vaccination plans
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Bosnia's exports in 2020 amounted to BAM10.5bn, trade deficit to BAM6.3bn
Retailers and restaurant owners threaten protests in Bulgaria if reopening is delayed
Bulgaria's Biodit first company to IPO on new BEAM market
Bulgaria’s government considers gradual easing of COVID-related restrictions
Spring lockdown caused spike in online transactions in Croatia
ING: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
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Kosovo’s biggest opposition party risks being unable to run in general election
OUTLOOK 2021 Moldova
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Montenegro’s special prosecution probes finance minister over €750mn Eurobond issue
North Macedonia plans to cut personal income tax in IT sector to zero in 2023
Romania government to pursue “ambitious” timetable for justice reforms
Private finance mobilised by development banks up 9% to $175bn in 2019
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
BALKAN BLOG: US approach to switch from quick-fix dealmaking to experience and cooperation
Slovenia’s economic sentiment indicator up 2.2 pp m/m in January
Slovenia lost €10bn by neglecting wood industry for decades
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovenia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
D’S Damat franchise deals ‘show Turkey’s hard-pressed mall operators becoming their own tenants’
Turkey’s benchmark rate held as concerns over faltering recovery come to fore
Turkish lira breaches HSBC’s stop-loss, Turkey ETF signalling outflows
CAUCASUS BLOG : What can Biden offer the Caucasus and Stans, all but forgotten about by Trump?
Armenia ‘to extend life of its 1970s Metsamor nuclear power plant after 2026’
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
OUTLOOK 2021 Azerbaijan
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Iran’s President Khamenei menaces private citizen Trump
Iran’s technology minister indicted for failing to properly implement internet censorship
No US move to rejoin Iran nuclear deal imminent, say Biden national security nominees
TEHRAN BLOG: Will Biden bet on a quick return to the Iran nuclear deal?
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
Mongolia, island of democracy
OUTLOOK 2021 Mongolia
Mongolia's PM quits amid protests over treatment of mother with coronavirus and newborn baby
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
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As much as 90% of around 10,000 “imported” coronavirus (COVID-19) infections detected in Russia were contracted by people who had lately travelled to Turkey, The Moscow Times has quoted Anna Popova, head of Russian healthcare and consumer protection watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, as saying.
More than one million Russian tourists visited Turkey in August and September after officials there said the country’s first coronavirus wave had subsided and resorts had been made especially safe with extraordinary measures.
Before that, flights between Turkey and Russia were halted between March 27 to August 1 as selective lockdown measures took effect. Many Russians also use Turkey as a transit hub to travel on to other countries. Interfax has reported that Russian and Turkish officials are now in discussions about cutting the number of flights between the two countries.
Norms not followed
In looking at the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in Turkey, it is important to note that the Turkish government does not follow international reporting norms in providing its infection figures. Officials there do not report asymptomatic coronavirus cases even though infected people with no symptoms can spread the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has asked Turkey to start reporting asymptomatic cases—something that almost all countries do—but so far Ankara has stuck to its policy of only reporting cases where symptoms are evident.
In October, the UK quickly reintroduced quarantine for travellers from Turkey after Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed that Turkey was not reporting the asymptomatic data. The move by the UK might be seen as somewhat late given that for months before it there were media investigations, such as one by the New York Times, and communications from Turkish medical chambers and opposition politicians that very strongly suggested that the official coronavirus data being provided by Turkey was incomplete and a drastic under-estimation of the severity of the pandemic in the country. In August, the UK named Richard Moore, who served as British Ambassador to Ankara between January 2014 and December 2017, as the new head of its MI6 foreign intelligence agency—as a Turkish speaker, maybe he has some information on this matter.
While coronavirus-stricken Turkish and British travel and tourism operators no doubt got something of a lift from UK officials keeping Turkey open as a “non-quarantine” holiday destination, neither they, the UK embassy in Ankara nor anyone else has provided any data on how many COVID-19 cases were carried to the UK from Turkey as a result of the mini-boom in holidays that was generated by the relaxed rules.
“I’ve talked to Mr [UK PM Boris] Johnson [who has a Turkish great-grandfather]. You say ‘I’m Turk’. There’re tourists who’d come here from there [the UK]. I told him ‘open their way’”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on June 9 during a televised interview.
On November 4, the Guardian reported that Turkey’s government was still resisting calls from Turkish doctors to introduce what they recommended as sensible and weighty measures against the resurgent pandemic in the country.
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