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Serbia’s Presevo Valley with the city of Presevo in the foreground

  2018 was supposed to be a year in which Serbia and Kosovo made progress in resolving their longstanding territorial dispute. This year, the European Union moderated more dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, or at least tried to, and set a target date of 2025 for Serbia to join the bloc, an accession that hinges on Serbia striking a deal with Kosovo on normalizing relations. Additionally, a major breakthrough occurred in the middle of the year in another longstanding dispute in the region, the Macedonia name dispute, giving hope that similar progress may occur in Serbia-Kosovo relations.   Yet, 2018 is concluding with Pristina imposing and hiking tariffs on imports from Serbia (and from Bosnia) and voting to turn the Kosovo Security Force into a regular army. Meanwhile, Belgrade is

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istambul-2017

  In a year that has begun with a bloody attack on Europe’s southeastern edge, the SEE region figures to again factor prominently in world events. What transpired in Southeastern Europe in 2016 and what lies ahead in 2017?   2016 was a very violent year in Turkey, where war, terror and mass arrests grabbed the headlines. In 2017, the bloodshed has already begun. More than three dozen New Year’s Eve partygoers were killed just minutes after the year began. Now, Turkish President Recep Erdogan will seek to exploit the chaos in order to transform Turkey’s system of governance and obtain the executive presidency he has long desired.   While blood spilled in Turkey, the year 2016 in the Balkans was characterized by an uneasy peace. Following the Brexit vote

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dodik-referendum

On consecutive Sundays, voters in Bosnia went to the polls amid rising ethnic tensions that are jeopardizing the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration. Neither a referendum in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity, nor local elections held nationwide, did anything to alleviate the ethnic division.   In the week leading up to the referendum, war talk made headlines in the Balkans. A wartime Bosnian Army commander suggested the Serb entity, Republika Srpska, could be occupied in 15 days. The suggestion prompted Belgrade to issue a statement saying it would come to the defense of its fellow Serbs if Republika Srpska was attacked. Zagreb also offered backing for the Bosnian Croats.   On Sept. 25, Republika Srpska held a referendum on its national holiday. Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik proceeded with the vote in defiance of