Turkey concerned over Macedonia violence

Turkey concerned over Macedonia violence
(AFP)
Updated 28 April 2017

Turkey concerned over Macedonia violence

Turkey concerned over Macedonia violence

MACEDONIA: The Latest on the political crisis in Macedonia has expressed “deep concern” over violence in Macedonia’s parliament and the political crisis in the country, urging the creation of a new government within democratic principles.
The Turkish presidency said in a written statement Friday that it hoped “differences in opinion” in Macedonia would soon be solved through dialogue and tolerance.
“Macedonia holds key significance to establish lasting peace in the Balkans,” the statement read, adding that Turkey would continue to support the country.
Demonstrators in Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, late on Thursday stormed the legislature and attacked lawmakers to protest the election of a new speaker despite a months-old deadlock in efforts to form a new government.
The head of Macedonia’s dominant conservative party has condemned overnight violence against opposition lawmakers in parliament, but says opposition leaders provoked the attack.
Nikola Gruevski is accusing the Social Democrats of consciously breaching the country’s law and constitution by electing a new parliament speaker — an ethnic Albanian politician.
“I want to condemn the violence and those individuals who have attacked and injured lawmakers,” Gruevski said at his party headquarters early Friday.
Gruevski said the Social Democrats also bear responsibility for the violence, as their “greed for power at any cost” was its “direct cause.”
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has called emergency security consultations over political turmoil and unrest in its southern Balkan neighbor, Macedonia.
The meeting of Serbia’s bureau for coordination of security services will be held later on Friday. Belgrade leaders have warned that any instability in Macedonia reflects on the entire Balkans.
Demonstrators in Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, late on Thursday stormed the legislature and attacked lawmakers to protest the election of a new speaker despite a months-old deadlock in efforts to form a new government.
Vucic says incidents in Macedonia “present a problem for all of us who live here and it is better to stop all the problems and secure peace and stability for our children.”
Local media say Vucic has discussed the situation with some regional leaders.
Macedonia’s president has called an emergency meeting of political leaders, hours after demonstrators — mostly supporters of the country’s dominant conservative party — invaded parliament and assaulted opposition lawmakers.
Police said 77 people, including opposition Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev, the head of a small ethnic Albanian opposition party and 22 police, were injured in the overnight riot.
It was unclear whether opposition party leaders would heed President Gjorge Ivanov’s call to attend the meeting to defuse the tension.
Late Thursday, demonstrators stormed the legislature and attacked lawmakers to protest the election of a new speaker despite a months-old deadlock in efforts to form a new government.
The European Union has condemned the violence that swept Macedonia’s parliament and said that the cornerstones of democracy should be respected.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said Friday that “violence is unacceptable, even more so when it happens in the house of democracy.”
On Thursday, demonstrators stormed the legislature and attacked lawmakers to protest the election of a new speaker despite a months-old deadlock in efforts to form a new government.
Clashes over several hours injured 77 people, including 22 police officers and several lawmakers, authorities said.
Mogherini, attending a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Malta, called the incident a “serious crisis that can be dangerous.”