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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said  that 4,704 people have been remanded in custody so far over alleged links to the July 15 failed coup, Anadolu Agency reported on Saturday

"Among them, 167 are police, 2,878 military personnel, 1,552 judges and prosecutors and 14 [local] governors, and 93 civilians," the Turkish news agency quoted Erdogan as saying.

According to figures compiled by AA on the basis of information from judicial sources, at least 126 generals and admirals allegedly linked to coup attempt have been remanded in custody so far.

The Turkish authorities can hold suspects in detention without charge for up to 30 days before being taking them to a judge to decide whether to remand them in custody under the state of emergency announced by Erdogan earlier this week.

Ankara chief public prosecutor Harun Kodalak has pledged fair trials for all soldiers linked to the coup attempt.

“We will immediately separate soldiers who did not fire on people, who did not drive army vehicles over people, who did not know what was happening,Anadolu Agency quoted the public prosecutor as saying on Saturday.

Kodalak added that at least 1,200 army officers have been released from detention so far.

The thwarted coup attempt claimed the lives of at least 246 people. More than 2,100 people were injured, according toofficial Turkish statistics.

 

Police in Munich have said that a German-Iranian teenager who shot dead nine people and then killed himself in the city on Friday had no known links to the Islamic State group, according to German media reports.

Police spokesman Peter Beck has said that officials didn’t yet know what triggered the crime but there was no clear political motivation.

Officials have also said that the 18-year-old had received psychiatric care for depression and was most probably a lone gunman.

They added that newspaper clippings and books related to killing sprees have been found during searches at the shooter’s family apartment that followed the shooting.

The attack at the Olympia shopping mall left 27 people injured, of whom 10 were in a critical condition on Saturday.

 

Bulgarians fear that the situation in Turkey will deteriorate after the failed coup attempt in Turkey on 15 July, a survey conducted by Gallup International shows.

At the same time, Bulgarian citizens don’t expect significant changes to take place in their everyday lives and Bulgarian-Turkish relations as a result of the events taking place in Turkey after the coup attempt.

The survey was conducted over the phone in Bulgaria on July 20 and 21 among 822 respondents aged 18 and over.

Seventy percent of the respondents fear that the threat of new conflicts in Turkey will increase, while 20% expect that threat to decrease. Women as well as people with higher level of education and social status are more pessimistic than the rest of the respondents.

Sixty-nine percent of those polled believe that the situation in Turkey is unlikely to affect their lives, while 27% are of the opposite opinion, Gallup International said in a statement.

Sixty percent of the respondents say that they don’t expect a change in relations between Bulgaria and Turkey. Expectations of a possible improvement of relations between the two neighbouring countries prevails among Bulgarian ethnic Turks, according to the statement.

Bulgaria will have its gas interconnection with neigbouring Romania completed in the autumn, Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova has said.

Petkova and her Romanian counterpart Victor Vlad Grigorescu on Saturday inspected the site of the construction of the underwater section of the gas link at Marten, in Ruse Region on the Bulgarian bank of the Danube.

"All activities are on schedule, thanks to the good coordination between the gas transmission operators of Bulgaria and Romania, Bulgartransgaz and Transgaz," Petkova said at the construction site, according to a news release from the Energy Ministry in Sofia.

The interconnector Bulgaria-Romania will provide an opportunity for diversification of sources and routes of gas supplies in southeastern Europe to fulfil one of the main priorities of the European Energy Union.

Vlad Grigorescu said the completion of the project wasn’t easy, but expressed confidence that there will be no delays to construction works.

Bulgaria-Romania interconnection has a total length of 25 kilometers, of which 15.4 kilometers of Bulgarian territory, 7.5 kilometers in Romania and 2.1 kilometers on the river bed.

Bulgartransgaz and Transgaz signed a contract with Austrian company Habau earlier this year to build a main and a backup pipeline linking the gas transmission systems of the two neighouring countries under the Danube.

Flows of natural gas flows between Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria will be tested by the end of 2016 under interconnection agreements signed by the grid operators of the three countries, petrochemicals market information provider ICIS reported on Thursday.

The European Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Bulgaria to request the correct transposition of all the requirements of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive into national legislation.

Under Directive 2010/31/EU, Member States are required to establish and apply minimum energy performance requirements for new and existing buildings, to ensure the certification of buildings' energy performance as well as to ensure that regular inspections of heating and air conditioning systems take place.

A detailed examination of the national legislation transposing that directive has revealed that Bulgaria failed to ensure that energy performance certificates are always issued and handed to the prospective buyer or tenant for buildings or building units which are sold, constructed or rented out, the European Commission said in a statement on Friday.

Therefore, the Commission said it askedBulgaria to ensure that all the requirements of the Buildings Directive are fully met.

Bulgaria has two months to notify the European Commission of measures taken to address the issue; otherwise, the EU executive may decide to refer the country to the Court of Justice of the EU.

The reasoned opinion is the second stage of infringements procedure under the treaty on the functioning of the European Union after the formal notice and before referral to the Court of Justice.

Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov has welcomed the US' consistent support for key projects for the diversification of sources and routes for the supply of energy resources in Bulgaria and the region.

Daniel Mitov, on a working visit to Washington, has met with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz to discuss the progress in the construction of natural gas interconnectors with Bulgaria’s neighbours, according to a statement released by the foreign ministry in Sofia on Friday.

The meeting took place on Thursday and marked the start of Mitov's visit.

An emphasis was placed on the gas interconnector with Greece and the Bulgarian government's plans to participate in the construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal near the Greek Aegean port of Alexandroupolis.

Daniel Mitov has also outlined the measures Bulgaria is taking to modernize its gas transmission infrastructure, the expansion of the gas storage facility in Chiren, as well as the plans to build a natural gas distribution centre in the country.

Ernest Moniz declared a commitment to deepen cooperation with Bulgaria and continue with the joint efforts for diversification of energy sources and routes, according to the statement.

Daniel Mitov also met with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, with whom he discussed bilateral trade and economic cooperation and the opportunities to enhance commercial exchange and investment cooperation.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement negotiations were also a subject of discussion. The US chief negotiator Ambassador Froman and Minister Mitov expressed hope that the TTIP talks and negotiations will be concluded soon.

Both sides agreed that a mutually beneficial agreement would foster opportunities for economic growth and is of exceptional importance in light of the UK's EU membership referendum results, as well as the overall geopolitical situation in the world, the statement read.

Nine people have been killed and 21 injured in a shooting at a shopping centre in Munich, according to German media reports.

A man opened fire at a McDonald’s restaurant outside the Olympia shopping centre in Munich late on Friday afternoon, eyewitnesses have said.

There were adolescents among the dead. Children have also been shot, police have said. Some of those injured were in a life-threatening condition.

Initial media reports on Friday evening had put the death toll at six. Police initially confirmed three deaths.

Police believe that an 18-year-old German-Iranian resident of Munich who acted alone and killed himself not far from the scene after the shooting. The authorities initially thought there were three attackers.

Police have not yet announced a motive for the attack. The gunman had no criminal record.

The attack came just four days after a young Afghan asylum seeker attacked several people with a knife and an ax on a train near the German city of  Wurzburg. 

No Bulgarian citizens were killed or wounded in Friday’s shooting near a shopping mall in Munich according to information available so far, the country’s consul general in the German city, Antoaneta Baycheva, has said.

The diplomat has assured Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov that she is liaising with German authorities about the incident, according to a statement from the government press office in Sofia.

Bulgarian diplomatic offices in Germany are monitoring the situation in Munich and will render help to Bulgarian citizens in case of need, according to the statement.

The emergency phone number of Bulgaria’s Consulate General in Munich is 0049 172 888 10 56.  

The German interior ministry has confirmed that at least three people were killed and many others were injured in a shooting at a shopping mall in Munich.

Police are searching for the attackers in a massive manhunt across the German city and have asked people to stay indoors, according to German media reports.

The Munich police said on Twitter that reports on social media of a second shooting in another part of the city were a false alarm.

A number of highways to the north of Munich have been sealed off and police have asked people to leave the highways clear. German border patrol helicopters are on their way to Munich, according to Bavarian broadcaster BR.

Police have confirmed that the McDonald's fast-food restaurant in the Olympia shopping center was attacked by three shooters.

All trains and public transport within and leading into and out of the city have been diverted and the city has been closed to traffic.

It is the second attack in Bavaria in less than a week. Security forces have been on high alert after a teenage refugee attacked train passengers near the city of Wurzburg with an axe and a knife, leaving two people with severe injuries.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the train attack, but authorities have said the teenager likely acted alone.

At least six people were killed in a shopping centre shooting in Munich, German media reported on Friday.

Multiple shots were fired on Hanauer Street before the attack moved to the Olympia shopping centre in Munich on late Friday afternoon.

Witnesses have told police there were three gunmen, who are still on the run.

A police spokesman has described the incident as a "shooting spree".

Munich police quoted eyewitnesses who reportedly saw three attackers carrying guns.

All Turkish Airlines operations and flights are proceeding uninterrupted following last week’s thwarted coup attempt in Turkey and will continue that way, the country’s flag carrier has announced.

The announcement was made in a company statement dated 21 July 2016 after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency.

Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines is serving 290 destinations in 116 nations across the globe.

The company had canceled 925 domestic and international flights on 16 July following the failed coup the day before, according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

China’s state-owned CITIC Group proposed to invest USD 100 M in a plant for the production of aluminium car wheels in Bulgaria, the government in Sofia announced on Friday.

The announcement was made by CITIC Group President Wang Jiong at a meeting of a Chinese business delegation with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Sofia.

The Chinese investors said that the proposed plant in the city of Ruse, a key industrial and transport hub on the Danube river, will create 300 jobs and comply with all environmental standards of the European Union, the government press office said in a statement.

Bulgarian police found four irregular migrants without documents hiding in an empty grain railcar, which arrived at Kapitan Andreevo border crossing from Turkey on Friday morning, the Interior Ministry said.

A day earlier, border police discovered 19 migrants hiding in two railcars of an international freight train also arriving from Turkey. None of those migrants carried identity documents either.

In a separate development, 29 foreign nationals were detained by Bulgarian police over the past 24 hours while attempting to cross the country's western border into Serbia, the Interior Ministry announced on Friday.

All of those migrants claimed to be of Afghan origin. They were apprehended in the area of Tianovtsi village several kilometers from the border with Serbia. Some of them had been registered as asylum seekers with the Bulgarian State Agency for Refugees.

 

 

The European Commission has requested Bulgaria to ensure the separation of accounts of Sofia Airport's managing body to comply with a directive on groundhandling services at EU airports.

Directive 96/67/EC provides that in case the managing body of an airport also provides groundhandling services, it must separate the accounts of its groundhandling activities from the accounts of its other activities to avoid cross subsidisation of the groundhandling business,the EU executive said in a reasoned opinion on Thursday.

The managing body of Sofia Airport is also a licensed groundhandling operator, providing services such as maintenance, fuel and freight handling as well as check-in, catering, baggage handling and transport within the airport itself.

Bulgaria now has two months to notify the Commission of measures taken to bring national legislation in line with EU law; otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the Bulgarian authorities to the Court of Justice of the EU.

 

 

French anti-terrorism judges have formally charged five suspects of plotting the terrorist attack in Nice on July 14.

The five suspects were arrested in France after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel rammed a truck into a crowd which enjoyed a Bastille Day fireworks display, killing 84 people and injuring more than 300, AFP reported on Friday.

A day earlier, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins confirmed the arrests of five suspected accomplices of the truck attacker.

They are 22-year-old Franco-Tunisian Ramzi A., 37-year-old Tunisian Chokri C., 40-year-old Tunisian Mohamed Oualid G., 38-year-old Albanian Artan H., and his wife Enkeledja Z. who holds both French and Albanian nationality, AFP said.

None were known previously to intelligence services. Only Ramzi A. had a criminal record for robbery and drug offences.

Ramzi, Chokri and Oualid were charged with being accomplices to murder by a terror group. The Albanian couple and Ramzi faced a second charge, of providing Bouhlel with the gun he fired at police officers before he was shot dead.

While the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, investigators have not found direct proof of his allegiance to the militants, AFP said.

 

 

Bulgaria’s government expects Canada to draw a schedule for lifting visa requirements for Bulgarian citizens as quickly as possible, Prime Minister Boyko Boyko Borisov has said.

"Bulgaria is ready to render the necessary assistance to the team ofexperts from Canada in gathering the necessary technical information," Borisov said at meeting with a Canadian government delegation in Sofia on Friday, according to a news release.

Bulgaria meets the Canadian requirements for the abolition of visa restrictions on travel of Bulgarian citizens, particularly in the areas of border management and security of travel documents, Borisov told the delegation led by Larissa Galadza, Director General for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

"Achieving visa reciprocity with Canada is important to us, so we hope this will happen as soon as possible," Borisov added.

Canada is expected to announce a schedule for the lifting of visas for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens in the autumn, it has emerged earlier this month.

 

The implementation of agreements on the exchange of information relating to security and law enforcement has been in the focus of a meeting between Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova and Alan Bersin, assistant secretary for international affairs at the U.S.  Department of Homeland Security.

The  working meeting on Thursday was part of Bachvarova’s ongoing visit to the U.S.

The agreements provide for the exchange of operational information on combating serious and organized crime, including dactyloscopic data and DNA profiles, as well as information on passengers between the law enforcement agencies of Bulgaria and the United States.

According to Alan Bersin, the agreements are "a very good framework for effective exchange of operational information between our structures," which is crucial for the joint fight against terrorism and organized crime, the Interior Ministry in Sofia said in a statement on Friday.

Rumyana Bachvarova informed Alan Bersin about the security measures which Bulgaria is taking in view of recent terrorist attacks in Europe, as well as measures to step up security at the country’s borders to counter irregular migration and the smuggling of people.

The defence committee in Bulgaria’s parliament has turned down a proposal to reinstate the universal military conscription.

Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev told the committee on Thursday that a return to the military draft will require a considerable increase in budget spending, public broadcaster BNR reported.

Moreover, a mandatory military service of less than a year wouldn’t be long enough to ensure comprehensive initial military training, Nenchev added.

The proposal to reintroduce the draft was put forward by the nationalist Patriotic Front (PF), which supports the minority coalition government in parliament but has no cabinet ministers.

PF co-chairman Krasimir Karakachanov told the committee that Bulgaria’s professional army of some 30,000 servicemen was too small to defend the country in case of need. He added that military conscription could exist alongside professional army, according to BNR.

 

 

 

 

Turkey should not be using democratic institutions to undercut human rights, the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has said.

“We are making it very clear to our Turkish friends – we are fully behind the institutions, the democratic institutions, the legitimate institutions, Reuters quoted Mogherini as saying after remarks at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington on Thursday.

“But there is no excuse, there is no way in which the reaction can undermine fundamental freedoms and rights,” Mogherini said. She described as unacceptable the measures taken by the authorities in the fields of judiciary, education, and media.

Thousands of civil servants, university deans, teachers, soldiers and magistrates have been dismissed or detained since last week’s failed coup attempt in Turkey.

Turkey will suspend the European Convention on Human Rights during a state of emergency it declared after the failed coup, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said earlier on Thursday.

 

Bulgaria is bracing for a possible surge in migration pressure on its southern borders, the country’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said.

“Nothing good is awaiting us. […] The army, police and gendarmerie, they are all working, and we prepare for a severe problem with the refugee wave," Borisov told Nova TV broadcaster on Friday morning.

Each day Bulgarian police detain around 150 to 200 irregular migrants who have crossed the border into the country, Borisov said.

"There are no controls at all on the border with Greece, with the exception of a few points where we have strengthened security measures with the help of the army. That’s why we decided yesterday to deploy patrols to locations not guarded by a wire fence and thermal imaging cameras," Borisov added.

Borisov noted it was regrettable that the EU’s agreement on migration with Turkey signed in March was almost non-working. 

Borisov also said that he had been invited to a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on August 24.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited Borisov and Romanian President Klaus Johannis to a meeting in Berlin on August 26, the Bulgarian prime minister added.

Borisov also called for greater caution in reaction to events unfolding in Turkey in the wake of last week’s thwarted coup attempt.

The Bulgarian government should aim to keep the balance and maintain communication with Turkey “even though we don’t understand the arrests of journalists, judges, teachers” in that country, Borisov said.

 

Bulgaria’s Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, came in third in the first-round secret vote at the UN Security Council to select the next UN Secretary-General, newswires reported on Thursday.

Bokova won nine encourage” votes, edging out former Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic and former Macedonian Foreign Minister Srgjan Kerim, who tied for fourth, according to Reuters.

The 15 ambassadors to the Security Council rated the 12 candidates in the race with ballots marked "encourage," "discourage" or "no opinion."

Portugal's former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres, who was UN refugee agency chief for 10 years,won the top score of 12 "encourage" votes.

He fas followed by Slovenia's former president Danilo Turk, who won 11 encouragements, two "discourage" votes and three "no opinion," according to diplomats, AFP said.

Croatia's former foreign minister Vesna Pusic received 11 discourage” votes from the council, the lowest score.

Council members are expected to meet again, possibly as early as next week, for a second round of straw polls, with a final nominee expected to emerge by October, according to AFP.

Turkey will suspend the European Convention on Human Rights during a state of emergency it declared after last week’s failed coup, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus has said.

Kurtulmus said on Thursday that Turkey would take the step “just like France has done under Article 15 of the convention.” The article allows to suspend certain rights during times of war or major emergencies.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency in the country on Wednesday in the wake of last week's foiled coup attempt.

In comments quoted by Turkish broadcaster NTV, Kurtulmus also said Turkey's state of emergency could end before the three months are up and last one to one and a half months, according to Reuters.

About 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers have been suspended, detained or put under investigation since the coup was put down.

France declared a state of emergency following terror attacks by the Islamic State group in Paris in November 2015 in which 130 people were killed.

 

 

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov praised the successful assistance of the Bulgarian military in ensuring the protection of the country’s borders against migration pressure, the government press office announced on Thursday.

“I am thankful for the help rendered by all members of the military who have taken part in joint actions with Interior Ministry forces,” Borisov told a conference in Sofia on the results of the recent NATO summit in Warsaw in Sofia.

At the conference, Borisov and Bulgarian top military commanders also discussed the measures being taken by the government and security agencies in the wake of last week’s thwarted coup attempt in Turkey, according to a statement from the government press office.

The prime minister said that situation was calm on Bulgaria’s border with Turkey at present.

Yet, the dynamics and magnitude of the events in the world over the past weeks and the multitude of challenges Bulgaria is facing require quick response from all parts of Bulgarian society – security services, the government and the citizens, Borisov added.

Bulgaria deployed an additional 230 troops to reinforce border police patrolling the border with Turkey on Saturday to counter a potential increase in migration pressure in the wake of the failed coup attempt in Turkey.

 

 

Bulgarian border police have detained 56 foreign nationals who attempted to illegally cross into Serbia over the past 24 hours.

Twenty-one Afghan nationals and five Syrians were found crammed into three passenger cars stopped for inspection by police on the road leading to Kalotina checkpoint on the border with Serbia on Wednesday.

Twenty-three of the foreign nationals have been registered with the State Agency for Refugees seeking protection in Bulgaria, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The three car drivers were charged with people trafficking.

Another 19 Afghan nationals and 11 Pakistanis were detained in the area close to the border with Serbia. Most of them were registered with the State Agency for Refugees.

Border police have also thwarted seven attempts to cross the border into Bulgaria from Turkey, in which a total of 114 irregular migrants were involved, over the past 24 hours, the Interior Ministry added.

 

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld a decision to ban Russian track and field athletes from the Olympic Games in 2016 over alleged state-sponsored doping and cover-ups.

The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) banned Russia from competition in November 2015 after an independent report found evidence of widespread use of doping by the country’s athletes.

“CAS rejects the claims/appeal of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and of 68 Russian athletes,” the Lausanne-based court said in a statement.

“The CAS has dismissed both the request for arbitration filed by the ROC and 68 Claimant Athletes, and the appeal filed by 67 of the same athletes against the IAAF decision to consider them as ineligible for the Olympic Games in Rio,” according to the statement.

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko has expressed regrets over the court’s decision.

"Unfortunately, a certain precedent has been established for collective responsibility" for alleged doping violations by individual athletes, Interfax news agency quoted Mutko as saying on Thursday.

Mutko also told TASS news agency that he thought the court ruling was “biased and somewhat politicized”.

The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday slammed the blanket ban on Russian track and field athletes from the Rio Olympics.

"We believe that the principle of collective responsibility is hardly acceptable," Peskov has told journalists, according to TASS.

"We are speaking here about field and track athletes, who had been preparing hard for the Olympics, who have nothing to do with doping, who have nothing to do with accusations and suspicions, who had regularly been tested by foreign anti-doping agencies," Peskov added.

Flows of natural gas flows between Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria will be tested by the end of 2016 under interconnection agreements signed by the grid operators of the three countries, petrochemicals market information provider ICIS has reported, citing an inside source.

“The deals will allow bi-directional virtual flows spanning the region from Ukraine to Greece, the European Commission and Ukrainian grid operator Ukrtransgaz announced on Wednesday,” according to ICIS.

The gas transmission system operators of the three countries plan to provide shippers with firm and interruptible transportation capacity from Ukraine to Bulgaria, and interruptible reverse flow capacity from 1 October 2016.

You can read the full ICIS story here.

 

 

 

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has urged the Turkish government to show restraint in its response to the foiled coup attempt and end the three-month state of emergency as quickly as possible.

In a statement issued late on Wednesday Steinmeier called on the Turkish government to maintain both the rule of law and a sense of proportionality in its reaction to the coup attempt.

"Only provable involvement in illegal acts, not suspected political leanings, should trigger governmental action," international newswires quoted Steinmeier as saying in the statement.

It was in Turkey's interest to "keep the state of emergency only for the duration that is absolutely necessary and then immediately end it," Steinmeier added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency on Wednesday night following last week's thwarted coup attempt. 

Austria’s Foreign Ministry has summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Vienna to discuss the political course Ankara is taking in the wake of the failed coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz told Austrian ORF broadcaster on Thursday that he would ask the ambassador what direction the country is going in and whether Turkish authorities had helped organise pro-Erdogan demonstrations in Vienna as the coup attempt in Turkey unfolded.

"We have evidence that the demonstrations in support of Erdogan that took place in Vienna were called for directly from Turkey... and that, of course, is absolutely untenable and we want to protest against that," Kurz told ORF, according to thelocal.at.

Around 4,000 people of Turkish origin marched to the Turkish embassy in Vienna on Friday night to protest the coup attempt and express support for Erdogan. Some 250,000 people of Turkish origin live in Austria, including around 76,000 in Vienna.

Austria’s Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka has criticized the march, saying that “it is unacceptable to spread domestic political opinion from Turkey to Austria under the cover of freedom to demonstrate”, according to thelocal.at.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s ambassador to Vienna Mehmet Hasan Gogus has said in a statement published by the Wiener Zeitung newspaper that it was difficult for him to understand ”why the protests in Vienna in support of the democratic resistance of the people in Turkey on the evening of July 15 and July 16 have stirred uneasiness," ORF reported on Thursday.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month long state of emergency in Turkey on Wednesday night.

As of Wednesday, the Turkish authorities have brought charges against 99 generals and admirals over their alleged links to the coup attempt. Thousands of civil servants, university deans, teachers, soldiers and magistrates have been dismissed or detained in police custody folowing the failed coup.

On Wednesday, the Turkish authorities  barred academics from travelling outside the country until further notice.

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov embarks on a nine-day working visit to the United States on Thursday that will focus on cooperation in the areas of defense, security and energy.

Daniel Mitov will meet with Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss progress in the activities of the working groups established last year to enhance the strategic dialogue in five key areas of cooperation between Bulgaria and the United States (defense and security, combating terrorism, the rule of law, energy security, education and strengthening of contacts between people).

Talks with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Amos Hochstein, US Special Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, are also on the agenda of Daniel Mitov’s visit.

Those talks will focus on cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy security and diversification of energy supplies, according to a statement from the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry.

Daniel Mitov will also meet with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

The program of the visit includes Daniel Mitov’s participation in a roundtable discussion at the Atlantic Council about the results of the recent NATO summit held in Warsaw.

 

Bulgaria will assume the rotating presidency of the European Council on 1 January 2018, six months earlier than initially planned, the country’s public radio broadcaster BNR announced on Thursday.

The change had been propmpted by Britain’s decision is to give up its presidency of the European Council next year in order to focus on preparations for negotiations to leave the EU, BNR said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has informed the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, about the decision in a telephone call on Tuesday. The UK was due to hold the seat in the second half of next year but the Prime Minister has decided that Britain should skip its turn in the light of last month's referendum vote for Brexit.

The UK will be replaced by Estonia, which will assume the six-month presidency of the European Council on 1 June 2017. Bulgaria will take the seat from Estonia from the start of the following year.

Slovakia holds the rotating EU presidency at present. Malta will assume the position on 1 January 2017.

A total of 151 people died and over 360 were injured as a result of terrorist attacks in the EU last year, Europol has announced.

There were 211 failed, foiled and completed terrorist attacks in six EU Member States:Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, the European police organization said in the EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2016 released on Wednesday.

This compared with 201 failed, foiled and completed terrorist attacks in the EU in 2014 and 152 in 2013.

1 077 individuals were arrested in the EU for terrorism-related offences, of which 424 in France only. This compared with 774 individuals in 2014 and 535 in 2013.

94% of the individuals trialled for jihadist terrorism were found guilty and prosecuted, as reported to Eurojust.

Lone actor attacks remained a favoured tactic by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, with both groups having repeatedly called on Muslims living in Western countries to carry out such attacks in their countries of residence, Europol said.

Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol, commented in a statement: “In 2015 the European Union experienced a massive number of casualties caused by terrorist attacks. In this context, Europol made use of its unique capabilities to focus on supporting operational investigations to prevent terrorist attacks and identify and disrupt terrorists. The increased cooperation resulted in a much richer strategic intelligence picture, strengthening […] Europol’s ability to advise political leaders and legislators and inform national authorities in the setting of threat levels.”

The report highlightstwo worrying developments: the overall threat is reinforced by the substantial numbers of returned foreign terrorist fighters that many Member States now have on their soil, and the significant rise in nationalist (xenophobic), racist and anti-Semitic sentiments across the EU, each resulting in acts of right-wing extremism.

The report also brings to light the fact that a significant percentage of all foreign terrorist travellers in Syria/Iraq are now female.

 








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