Attack kills 28 in Ankara; Greek far-right MPs expelled, Feb. 15-21

(Athens News Agency)

(Athens News Agency)

Headlines from Greece, Europe and Turkey for the week Feb. 15 – 21

GREECE

Greek Parliament votes for a “parallel program” to the European Union’s austerity. (Athen’s News Agency)

Turkish Warplanes Violate Greek airspace 22 times in 24 hours (International Business Times UK):

Amid tensions between Greece and Turkey regarding increased human smuggling in the Aegean, six armed Turkish air fighter jets entered Greece’s national airspace in eastern islands. Last week, NATO –an alliance that both Greece and Turkey are party to– announced that it would be sending warships to the Aegean to combat human smuggling of migrants to Greece and the European Union.

Golden Dawn MPs expelled from parliamentary committee (EKathimerini):

Two Greek MPs of the far-right Golden Dawn Party were expelled from Greek parliamentary committee on the refugee crisis for allegedly attacking Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and others in the meeting, calling them “traitors” and “Filipino servants of the migrants,” according to the AFP report.

Greek farmers continue blockading roadways in protest of social security and pension reforms (Athens New Agency)

EUROPE

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plan for refugees in Europe.

“We need the solidarity of Europe in tackling the refugee issue without phobias, which some of our partners have. Because people with phobias are not familiar with the idea of Europe,” said the President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos in a meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni. The Italian Minister stressed the cooperation between the two Mediterranean nations regarding the migrant crisis. (Athens News Agency)

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia met in Prague as the Visegrad Four (V4), to discuss a “Plan B” to solve the migrant crisis. The V4 stressed the need to secure the Macedonian and Bulgarian borders as a line of defense against migrants entering the central and eastern European nations. (EurActiv)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and ministers of 10 EU states to meet in Brussels tomorrow. The ministers of “like-minded countries,”  as Davutoglu described, are to discuss the UK Brexit referendum and the migrant crisis leading up to the EU Summits on Feb. 18 and 19. (EurActiv)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes last call for UK to remain in the European Union, ahead of EU Summit. (The Guardian)

TURKEY

At least 28 killed and 61 others injured after a car bomb attack in Ankara on Wednesday. The attack in the Turkish capital occurred during a high-level security meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Hurriyet Daily News)

Turkish planes bombed PKK camps in northern Iraq Wednesday night after the bomb attack in Ankara that killed 28 people. The government has blamed the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK) for the attack on the Turkish capital and cited them as retaliation for “massacres in Kurdistan.” (Today’s Zaman

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the United States’ call to stop bombing the Syrian Kurdish fighters, the PYD and YPG, whom the Turkish government consider terrorists. Erdogan also blamed the United Nations for Russia’s continued aiding Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s “crime against humanity.” U.S. officials continued to affirm the YPG’s legitimacy as a coalition partner against Daesh. (Hurriyet Daily News)

OPINION

Veteran Greek journalist Alexis Papachelas questions the European Union’s perception of Greek-Turkish relations (EKathimerini)

Co-chairman of Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) also warns against fruitless negotiating with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (EurActiv)

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