Category: Europe

West Berlin

West Berlin

Forced by the behavior of the SED (primarily due to the SED-controlled occupation of the New Town Hall in the east of the city by violent demonstrators, September 1948) and the Soviet occupying power, the magistrate and the House of Representatives partially relocated their seat to the west of the city, among others. in the Schöneberg town hall. For the West Berliners, the USA, Great Britain and France had changed from occupying powers to protecting powers. In the elections of December 5, 1948, which the magistrate residing in Berlin (West) had planned for the whole of Berlin as part of its constitutional powers, the SPD won an absolute majority; the House of Representatives elected Reuter again as Lord Mayor, who could only take office in the west of the city. The economic and cultural reconstruction of Berlin (West) began – intensified after the end of the blockade; In the process, within the framework of the reservation rights of the Western powers, which now continued their activities on a three-power basis, an increasingly dense network of ties developed between the western part of Berlin and the (later) federal territory. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for acronyms about Berlin.

After the state division of Germany (September / October 1949) all of Berlin and the Berlin question remained the focus of the German question in the East-West conflict (German history). Greater Berlin in its expansion created in 1920 was a state of the Federal Republic of Germany according to the Berlin constitution of September 1, 1950 and the Basic Law, but this provision was only valid to a limited extent until 1990 – in order to preserve the four-power status: due to the reservations of the western occupying powers the approval of the Basic Law (Article 23 GG for Berlin suspended) and the Constitution of Berlin (Article 1 II, III), Berlin was not allowed to be governed by the federal government; the Western Allies held fast to the four-power responsibility for Greater Berlin. Thereafter, all of Berlin was subject to the four-power control of the occupying powers according to the London Protocol of September 12, 1944; also the Four Power Agreement (Berlin Agreement) of September 3, 1971 underlined that West Berlin is “not a constitutive part” of the Federal Republic of Germany. According to the Western Allies, the supreme power in Berlin, according to occupation law, lay solely with the Allies; sovereignty over Berlin (West) was exercised by the three Western Allies. In the context of these occupation reservations, however, ever closer relations with the Federal Republic of Germany developed; Berlin (West), as a city-state at the same time as the state and municipality, was represented in the Bundestag by 22 members elected and sent from the center of the House of Representatives and by four members in the Bundesrat. Due to the Allied reservation, the Berlin representatives had voting rights in the plenum of both bodies, which were limited to questions of the rules of procedure. but full right to speak and give advice as well as voting rights in committees and parliamentary groups. The federal laws and international treaties of the federal government did not apply directly in Berlin (West), but usually contained the Berlin clause. The Federal Constitutional Court was responsible for constitutional complaints against acts of the Berlin authorities. not responsible. The essential principles of the Basic Law and the fundamental rights, on the other hand, were also considered federal law in Berlin (West) because of a reference in the Berlin constitution. The law on the position of the State of Berlin in the federal financial system of 4.1.1952 was decisive for inclusion in the legal, economic and financial system of the Federal Republic of Germany; here also the adoption of federal laws by the Berlin state legislature was regulated. Berlin (West) was included in the EC with the consent of the Western Allies.

The city’s ties to the Federal Republic of Germany were guaranteed by the western allies even after 1971; they found their expression among other things. in the fact that numerous federal authorities and courts had their seat here. In international law, Berlin (West) was represented by the Federal Republic of Germany.

The importance of Berlin (West) lay in its direct influence on the GDR and until 1961 consisted in the possibility for residents of the GDR and Berlin (East) to reach the Federal Republic of Germany via Berlin (West). After the failure of the Berlin Conference on Germany (1954), the Western powers issued a guarantee of protection for Berlin (West) in the London Three-Power Declaration (1954), which was approved by NATO. When the Soviet leadership under N. S. Khrushchev demanded that West Berlin be converted into a demilitarized “Free City” within six months (Berlin ultimatum), there was a second major Berlin crisis triggered (11/27/1958). The Soviet threat led to renewed Western declarations of guarantees for their urban sectors, but also to efforts by the adversaries to compromise to avoid a military confrontation. After talks with Khrushchev in Vienna (June 3rd / 4th, 1961), where he confirmed his ultimatum, American President J. F. Kennedy summarized American Berlin policy in July 1961 in the announcement of the Three Essentials. The USSR then paved the way for the GDR to build the Berlin Wall, with political support from the Warsaw Pact states(from August 13, 1961) free; In doing so, the GDR prevented, above all, the flow of refugees from its territory. After lengthy negotiations, residents of Berlin (West) were able to visit relatives in Berlin (East) from 1963–66 under four permit agreements.

In close ties to the rest of Germany, Berlin (West) tried to develop its cultural and economic development further. In the course of a reform discussion at the Berlin University, especially the Free University (FU), which was characterized by anti-authoritarian, neo-Marxist approaches, a radical socialist movement developed between 1966 and 1968, which expressed itself in many, often militant demonstrations (APO).

From March 1970, there were extensive four-power negotiations, and on June 3, 1972 the Berlin Agreement of September 3, 1971 came into force. Access to Berlin (West) was regulated in a German-German transit agreement of December 17, 1971, the modalities of visits by West Berliners to Berlin (East) and the GDR in a travel and visit agreement between the government of the GDR and the Senate of Berlin (West) set. The GDR issued extremely limited permits for visits to the West (reasons for approval: retirement age, disability, death of next of kin, etc.); by increasing and expanding the mandatory exchange of money (“minimum exchange”) per day of visit since 1980, it has cut the number of people entering from the west to less than half.

Until 1975 the SPD remained the strongest party in the House of Representatives; in the elections it won an absolute majority several times and since the constitution of 1950 came into force with Reuter (until 1953), O. Suhr (1955–57), W. Brandt(1957–66), H. Albertz (1966/67), Klaus Schütz (* 1926, † 2012; 1967–77), Dietrich Stobbe (* 1938, † 2011; 1977–81) and H.-J. Vogel (1981) the Governing Mayor; 1953–55 W. Schreiber (CDU) held this office. With the elections of 1975 the CDU became the strongest party and from 1981 provided the governing mayor: 1981–84 R. von Weizsäcker and 1984–89 E. Diepgen. The coalition of the SPD and Alternative List (in the House of Representatives since 1981) formed in February 1989 under W. Momper (SPD) broke up at the end of November 1990.

West Berlin

Places to Visit in Bordeaux, France

Places to Visit in Bordeaux, France

Churches or sacred institutions

Cathédrale St. André
The cathedral was inaugurated by Pope Urban II in 1096 and comes close to the enormous dimensions of Notre Dame in Paris. The cathedral in Romanesque-Gothic style has a separate bell tower, which offers a beautiful view.
The preserved baroque organ of the cathedral is also worth a detour.
Address: Place Pey-Berland

Eglise St. Michel

The Eglise St. Michel has a 114 meter high bell tower and was built between the 15th and 16th centuries. There is a daily flea market around the church.
Address: Place Canteloup

Saint Seurin

Saint Seurin dates from the 13th and 14th centuries. However, it did not get its current garb in 1831. However, a figure portal on the south side of the church still dates from the original days.
The vestibule from the previous building from the 11th century is even older than this. Reliquaries and sarcophagi from the 6th and 7th centuries can still be seen in the crypt.
Address: Rue Rod. Péreire

Stages

Stade Chaban-Delmas (Parc de Lescure)
The Stade Chaban-Delmas (Parc de Lescure) was inaugurated in 1924 and is constantly updated, so that today there is space for up to 35,200 people, for example when the local soccer team GB plays here.
Address: Place Johnston

Zoological Garden

Zoo de Bordeaux Pessac
The Zoo de Bordeaux Pessac was bought by Wild Nature Holding in 2004 and was subsequently revised and redesigned.
Address:
3, avenue du Transvaal
33600 PESSAC

Parks

Jardin Public
The Jardin Public was laid out in 1746. There is a nice children’s playground on the island (Ile des enfants) on the lake in the park. Also in the park are the species-rich Bordeaux Botanical Garden and the natural history museum.
Address: Cours de Verdun

Rivers and lakes

Garonne
The city’s river is the Garonne, which flows through the city from north to south. It is spanned by five bridges within Bordeaux.

Bordeaux-Lac Bordeaux-Lac can be found on both sides of the northern ring road. The 160 hectare lake is the center of a complex that also includes the trade fair, a congress center, a cycling track and an amusement park.

Port

The city’s port is the sixth most important port in France, but the most important wine export port in the world. The city’s historic harbors lost their importance when sailing on the Gironde was no longer possible due to the increasing draft of the ships.
Internet: www.bordeaux-port.fr

Trips

The village of St. Emilion is 35 km east of Bordeaux . It is widely known for its 14th-century cloister of the Eglise Collégiale. The two towers Tour du Roy and Clocher Monolithe should also be visited here for a panoramic view, as well as the rock church Eglise Monolithe with the grotto and the catacombs. St. Emilion is even more famous for its excellent wines. Wine lovers should definitely not miss out on a few wine tastings.

The Médoc wine-growing region to the south and west of the Gironde covers 13,500 hectares. Wine enthusiasts are recommended to visit Château Mouton-Rothschild near Pauillac, which has collections and the wine store open to visitors.

The fortified castle of Château de la Brède is located around 20 km south of Bordeaux. It dates from the 14th century. Montesquieu was born here in 1689. A collection here commemorates the great writer and state theorist.

Trips

Atlantic coast
The Atlantic coast with its wonderful wide and white beaches is around 50 km (as the crow flies) from Bordeaux

Arcachon
The municipality of Arcachon with around 10,000 residents is located around 50 km (as the crow flies) southwest of Bordeaux.
The place is famous for its nearby dune “Dune du Pilat”, which has a height of about 110 m, a length of 2.7 km and a width at its base of about 500 m.

Traffic in the city

Tram
Since 2004 a modern tram has been running on three lines in the city of Bordeaux according to relationshipsplus. Most of the railway is supplied with an underground power supply. Internet: www.infotbc.com

Busses
Bordeaux has 72 bus routes that are used during the day, 10 express routes and 12 routes that are operated by the night bus.
www.infotbc.com

Taxis There are
around 400 taxis in Bordeaux. They can be called, stopped or boarded at one of the city’s numerous stations.

Bicycle
The bicycle path network in Bordeaux “intra muros” (within the city walls) is relatively well developed with cycle paths, not last. as the bus routes are also available to cyclists.

Places to Visit in Bordeaux, France

Transportation in Romania

Transportation in Romania

ON THE GO

Traveling by plane

Tarom (RO) (Internet: www.tarom.ro) flies regularly to Constanta, Arad, Bacau, Caransebes, Baia Mare, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Satu Mare, Timisoara, Oradea, Tirgu Mures, Sibiu, Suceava and Tulcea.

On the way by car / bus

Even the most remote places in Romania can be reached by car. There is now a 334 km long motorway network.

A vignette is required for cars on the roads of Romania. The vignette is valid for one year from purchase. In addition to the annual vignette, drivers can also purchase a 30-day or 7-day vignette.

The vignettes are available at border crossings, petrol stations (PETROM, ROMPETROL, OMV and MOL) and at post offices.

The petrol station network is well developed. Credit cards are not accepted at the petrol stations.

According to youremailverifier, the Romanian Automobile Club (ACR) has its headquarters in Bucharest (Tel: (92 71) and offers members of similar organizations Breakdown services. An ADAC international emergency call station has been set up. It offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC international health and accident insurance assistance with hotels, rental cars, vehicle or patient repatriation. The emergency call station in Bucharest is manned during the week (Tel: (021) 223 45 25. Internet: www.adac.de). At the weekend you can contact the emergency call station in Athens (see Greece). Buses go to almost all cities and villages. Taxis can be hailed in the street or ordered through hotels; one should use metered taxis.

Rental car

Reservations can be made at the airport or through the hotels. However, it is recommended to book a rental car with a chauffeur, as the traffic can be quite hectic. Documents: National or international driver’s license and the green insurance card. It is recommended that you take out short comprehensive insurance. The national driving license is sufficient for EU citizens. For nationals of EU and EFTA countries, the car registration number is used as proof of insurance. Nevertheless, EU and EFTA citizens are advised to take the international green insurance card with them in order to benefit from full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance cover applies. In addition, the green cardfacilitate accident recording.

Transportation in Romania

Traffic regulations:
The use of cell phones at the wheel is only permitted when using a hands-free system.
Drivers must always have a fire extinguisher and two warning triangles in their car.
Absolute alcohol ban.
Driving with dipped headlights during the day is compulsory all year round.

Speed limits:
within built-up areas: 50 km / h (40 km / h for motorcycles);
on country roads: 90 km / h (60 km / h for motorcycles);

on expressways and European roads: 100 km / h;
on motorways: 130 km / h.

Traveling in the city

There is good public transport available in the larger cities. Bucharest is the only city that has a metro network (Internet: www.metrorex.ro). Tickets are bought in advance and validated on the bus or train. There are day, week and two-week tickets. An independent minibus service operates 18 different routes.

On the go by train

The Romanian State Railways (Internet: www.cfr.ro) is punctual, reliable and inexpensive. Some trains have sleeping and dining cars. Surcharge and seat reservation required for express and express trains. These run from Bucharest to Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Constanta and Brasov. The “Rail Inclusive Tour” ticket also includes accommodation as well as transport. The train doors on Romanian trains are located relatively high above the platform, so boarding can often be a bit difficult for people with limited mobility.
Balkan Flexipass and InterRail passes are valid (for details see Germany).

On the way by ship

Shipping traffic on the Danube: From Calafat and from Moldova Veche, ships leave from Drobeta Turnu Severin and in Bechet you leave with SPET SA Bucuresti. There are ferries from Braila, Galati, Tulcea and from Smardan. Tulcea is connected to several villages in the Danube Delta by ferry.
There are currently no regular ferry transports departing from Romanian ports on the Black Sea.

TRAVEL WARNING

Current information

Numerous demonstrations against controversial easing of anti-corruption legislation have taken place in larger cities across Romania. In Bucharest, hundreds of thousands took part in the first days of February, and there were also riots. It cannot be ruled out that the protests will continue and that there will be further riots.

Travelers are advised to follow the situation in the media and avoid crowds.

Transportation in Hungary

Transportation in Hungary

ON THE GO

On the way by car / bus

According to youremailverifier, Hungary has a well-developed road network (Internet: www.aka.hu). There are eight major thoroughfares; except for the M8, they all start in Budapest. The two main connecting roads from Budapest are the M1 to Hegyeshalom and the M7, which connects Budapest with Lake Balaton. The M3 connects Budapest with eastern Hungary (as far as Görbehaza) and the M6 is the quickest way to get from Budapest to southern Hungary.

For the motorways (Internet: www.autobahn.hu) it is necessary to purchase an e-vignette which can be used for 4 days, 10 days, 1 month or 1 year at the toll booths on the motorway, at the Hegyeshalom border station and at the petrol stations in the Close to the motorway is available.

Emergency telephones can be found every 2 km on the motorways M1, M5, M7 and on Europastraße 5.

There is a well-developed network of petrol stations. All types of fuel commonly used in international traffic are available.

Bus: Volanbusz maintains bus routes to the cities in the country and to the resorts and vacation spots. Almost all Hungarian cities can be reached by bus from Budapest. Tickets are available from Volán and Ibusz offices across the country. There is also a bus network card.

Taxi: In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, the fare should be agreed upon before starting the journey.

Car rental at Ferihegy-Airport, at IBUSZ, Volán, the Budapest Tourist Office and the larger hotels.

Roadside Assistance:
The Hungarian Automobile Club operates a roadside assistance service on the weekends on the main roads and 24 hours on the motorways and can be reached nationwide on telephone number 188; (Address: Rómer Flóris u. 8, H-1024 Budapest. Tel: (01) 345 17 44 (24-hour helpline) (Internet: www.autoklub.hu).

An ADAC international emergency call station has also been set up ( Tel: (01) 345 17 17. Internet: www.adac.de). It offers ADAC members and holders of an ADACForeign health and accident protection assistance with hotels, rental cars, vehicle or patient repatriation.

Documents:
The national driving license is sufficient for EU citizens. For nationals of EU and EFTA countries, the car registration number is used as proof of insurance. Nevertheless, EU and EFTA citizens are advised to take the international green insurance card with them in order to benefit from full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance cover applies. The green card can also make it easier to record accidents.

Transportation in Hungary

Traffic regulations:
– Wear seat belts.
– Strict alcohol driving ban (0.0%).
– Even during the day, dipped headlights must be used outside built-up areas.
– Drivers and passengers of motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians must wear a safety vest outside the local area in poor visibility or darkness.
– Horn is only allowed in built-up areas if there is an immediate risk of an accident.
– Telephoning is only permitted with a hands-free system.
– Snow chains should always be carried in the vehicle during the winter season.

Speed limits for cars and motorcycles:
Motorway: 130 km / h
Expressway: 110 km / h
Country road: 90 km / h
Town: 50 km / h

Speed limits for buses:
Motorway: 80 km / h
Expressway: 70 km / h
Country road: 70 km / h
Town: 50 km / h

Note on traveling by road

Travelers who drive to Hungary by car should make sure that the TÜV stickers on their vehicles have not expired, otherwise there is a risk of serious problems with the Hungarian authorities.

Attention: Traffic violations such as speeding, non-compliance with seatbelts, driving under the influence of alcohol or driving over red traffic lights can result in heavy fines of up to HUF 300,000 (approx. € 1,100), which are collected on the spot. If you don’t pay immediately, you can expect your car to be confiscated.

Traveling in the city

The larger cities have good local transport networks. In Budapest there are buses, trolleybuses, trams, suburban trains (HEV), three underground lines and ferries.

Tickets for trams and buses are available in advance in tobacco shops. Day tickets are available for all modes of transport. The trams and buses run from 4.30 a.m. to 11 p.m., there are also some night lines (marked with “É”). Subway service from 4:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. There is also a rack railway (Városmajor – Széchenyi hill), an old train from the pioneering days of the railway (Hüvösvölgy – Széchenyi hill), a chair lift and a cable car. In the other cities there are trams or buses.

On the go by train

The Hungarian rail network runs radially, the center is Budapest. The route network is operated by MÁV (ticket office in Budapest, Tel / Fax: (01) 322 84 05; Internet: www.mav.hu) and covers 8,500 km. Timetable information is available at (01) 461 55 00 (international timetables) and (01) 461 54 00 (national timetables).

All major cities can be easily reached by rail; connections are good, but facilities are often inadequate. There is a surcharge for express trains; Seat reservations are required, especially in summer. Tickets and reservation cards can be purchased up to 60 days in advance.

Vintage train (website: www.mavnosztalgia.hu) run according to the schedule to the Danube Bend from Budapest West Railway Station to Kismaros Railway Station (every Saturday in spring and summer).
Further information is available from MAV Nosztalgia GmbH, Tel / Fax: (01) 302 00 69.

Note on rail travel

Fare reductions / special tickets: For retirees over the age of 60 there is a fare reduction RES. Tourist cards (valid for 7-10 days) are also available. The JUNIOR discount applies to people up to 26 years of age. Children under 4 years travel for free. Further information from the tourist office (see addresses).

Madeira Overview

Madeira Overview

Madeira – island of eternal spring

Madeira belongs to Portugal and thus to the European Union. Since the uprisings of Madeira’s residents in the 1970s after the so-called “Carnation Revolution” in Portugal, the island has been an autonomous region of Portugal, but still politically and militarily dependent on the mother country.
Madeira, together with the smaller island of Porto Santo and the two uninhabited islands – Ilhas Desertas and Ilhas Selvagens – forms the autonomous province of Madeira. The archipelago was discovered by Portuguese sailors in 1418.
The “Island of Eternal Spring”, as Madeira is also called, is located in the Atlantic, around 500 km from the African coast and around 1,000 km from Europe.

The island became famous for its important visitors, including Empress Sisi of Austria and Winston Churchill, who stayed for a long time on this beautiful island full of flowers and plants.
But on 19.20. In February 2010, the island fell victim to one of the worst natural disasters in living memory. As a result of tropical precipitation and severe storms, there were heavy floods and mudslides.
Entire streets were turned into raging rivers and destroyed houses, streets, cars and bridges. At least 42 people were likely killed.

Name of the country Madeira
Form of government Autonomous Region of Portugal
Geographical location Island in the Atlantic Ocean, about 500 km west of Morocco
National anthem Anthem of Portugal “A Portugesa”
Population approx. 213,000
Religions approx. 95% Roman Catholic
Languages Portuguese
Capital or administrative center Funchal
Surface 794 km²
Highest mountain Pico Ruivo with a height of 1,862 m
International license plate P
National currency Euro
Time difference to CET -1 h
International phone code 00351
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts, 50 hertz
Internet Top Level Domain (TLD) .pt

Population and cities

Population

Number
Madeira has around 230,000 residents.

Religion
About 95% of Madeira’s residents belong to the Roman Catholic Church.

National languages

In Madeira, as in the motherland Portugal, Portuguese is spoken.

Administrative center, other cities

The administrative center of Madeira is Funchal with a population of approx. 112,000.
Other cities are:

  • Machico with around 12,000 residents
  • Monte with around 9,000 residents
  • Santa Cruz with around 10,000 residents
  • Sao Vicente with around 6,000 residents

Madeira map

Coastline

Madeira has a coast to the Atlantic with a length of around 150 km.

Madeira: geography

General

The landscape of Madeira is very different and extremely impressive. The coast is partly very steep and is dominated by rugged rocky cliffs, the interior is predominantly mountainous and heavily overgrown. The valleys of Madeira are very lush and fertile in their vegetation.

Area and national borders

Madeira covers an area of ​​794 km².
Of these:

Fields and fields

The most important part of Madeira’s agriculture is viticulture. In addition, potatoes and bananas are grown on a large scale.

Madeira is an island belonging to Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic and therefore has no common border with any state.

Coastline

Madeira has a coast to the Atlantic with a length of around 150 km.

Tidal range

In Funchal, the mean tidal range is around 2 m.
(For a detailed explanation of ebb and flow, see tides, ebb and flow).

Compare
The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax. On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Madeira extends (from the island of Selvagens) over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from 33 ° 07 ‘to 30 ° 01’ north latitude
Δλ = from 15 ° 51 ‘to 17 ° 15’ west longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Time

For Madeira, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there and a plus sign that it is later than after CET:

Δt (CET) = – 1 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Funchal

Funchal lies at a north latitude of around φ = 32.5 °.
If the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 °, summer starts in Funchal on June 21st. Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

32.5 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °

so:

H = 81 °

This is the highest level above the horizon (exactly: above the chimney) that the sun occupies within the year in Funchal.

Mountains

Pico Ruivo
The highest mountain in the country is the Pico Ruivo with a height of 1,862 m.

Islands

The following smaller islands are in front of Madeira Island:

  • Porto Santomit
  • Ilhas Desertas
  • Ilhas Selvagens

Madeira Overview

The Most Beautiful Hotels In Tuscany

The Most Beautiful Hotels In Tuscany

The Tuscany is one of the most popular destinations in Italy and offers a great landscape also numerous famous buildings that are simply impressive. Visit the Cathedral of Florence, do a winery tour and discover the charming medieval city of Siena – there is a lot to do in Tuscany. Of course, for a successful stay you also need the right hotel and I’ve picked out quite a few for you. Here are my top 5 most beautiful hotels in Tuscany.

Il Pellicano, Porto Ercole

The five star Hotel Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole is definitely one of the most beautiful hotels in Tuscany. The main building and the six small cottages are surrounded by a beautiful Mediterranean garden and offer a great view of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Relax on the private beach, treat yourself to a few cocktails by the pool and dine in the chic hotel restaurant, which has been awarded a Michelin star. The Hotel Il Pellicano offers its guests excellent service and promises an unforgettable stay.

Four Seasons Hotel, Florence

According to relationshipsplus, the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is hard to beat when it comes to pomp. Just because of its location in one of the largest private parks in Florence, the hotel has a majestic flair. A look at the suites also reveals: those who reside here feel like royalty. The rooms are all individually decorated with stucco ceilings, frescoes or wall paintings and offer a view of the beautiful park. There are a total of 116 opulent rooms that transport guests back to the 15th century. But I don’t want to reveal too much to you, click through the picture gallery and see for yourself:

Castello Di Casole, Casole D’Elsa

The Castello Di Casole is one of the largest private estates in Italy and offers a total of 41 breathtaking suites. A special highlight is the ingenious infinity pool, which offers a spectacular view of the surrounding vineyards. There are also two restaurants where Tuscan specialties as well as first-class sparkling wines from our own production are served. More Tuscany is not possible!

Belmond Villa San Michele, Fiesole

If you look at photos of the Belmond Villa San Michele , you will quickly see why the hotel is one of the most beautiful in Europe. The former monastery from the 15th century towers high above the hills of Fiesole and offers spectacular views. Surrounded by cypress and rose trees, guests can simply relax and let the beauty of Tuscany sink in. This picture book panorama is sure to stay in your memory for a long time.

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Montalcino

The last hotel I would like to introduce to you is the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Montalcino. The luxury hotel not only offers exclusive villas but also its own winery and golf course. As is to be expected in Tuscany, the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco is located in the middle of an idyll of vineyards and rolling hills. Those who check in here can look forward to a relaxing holiday. With these pictures I feel a bit more relaxed 😉

Let’s go to Tuscany

After these dream images I would like to book a trip to Tuscany directly and I bet many of you feel the same way 😉 Unfortunately, these hotels are not exactly cheap, which is why I picked out a few affordable alternatives for you. So what are you waiting for? Let’s go to Tuscany!

Beautiful Hotels In Tuscany

Sightseeing in Bulgaria

Sightseeing in Bulgaria

Bulgaria, a Balkan state in south-east Europe, is becoming increasingly important as a holiday destination. The country not only offers beautiful beaches and good conditions for a relaxing beach holiday, but is also rich in architectural highlights and cultural sights.

In addition, nature lovers get their money’s worth. The holiday country on the Black Sea coast is surprisingly diverse and offers very varied landscapes. The price level is still pleasantly moderate, which is why Bulgaria is also very popular with young holidaymakers and families.

In the following we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria-1002 - Overlooks the Valley

1. Sunny Beach

Sunny Beach in Bulgaria is one of the most popular vacation spots on the Black Sea coast. The most important difference to the legendary Golden Sands: Although you can party here too, it is definitely a bit quieter on Sunny Beach. The sunny beach is about eight kilometers long and up to 100 meters wide. So nothing stands in the way of extensive sunbathing and the promenade on the sunny beach leaves nothing to be desired.

The most famous tourist center in the whole country is called Slantschew brjag in Bulgarian, which means “sunny coast”. The closest airports are Burgas and Varna. There are now more than 800 holiday hotels in all price ranges on Sunny Beach. The season is mainly limited to the months May to October, in winter the region is often deserted and most of the hotel complexes are closed.

2. Golden Sands

The golden sands is also known as the “Ballermann of the Balkans”. It is usually much more turbulent here than on Sunny Beach. While you can find rest and relaxation on the fine sandy beaches during the day, the city becomes a great party backdrop in the evening. In the clubs and bars of the golden sands there are numerous drink specials and music from well-known DJs from all over the world.

The advantage of the golden beach for Ballermann on Mallorca: In addition to really cheap prices, there is neither a curfew nor a music ban. So partying is possible until the early hours of the morning. The Golden Sands region is excellently developed for tourism. The water sports such as jet skiing, sailing or surfing are not neglected here either.

3. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia

Sofia is the city not to be missed on a holiday in the Balkans. The most impressive building in the city is the magnificent Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This is the largest church in all of Bulgaria. The Memorial Cathedral is located right in the center of Sofia in the square of the same name.

With its golden domes that can be seen from afar, it is an impressive photo opportunity. But the interiors are also absolutely worth seeing. Above all, the wall paintings and the 82 icons are incomparable. If you can set it up, attend one of the cathedral’s regular services.

4. Rila Monastery

Bulgaria is a country with an astonishing number of monasteries. However, the Rila Monastery is one of the most beautiful that looks like a fortress. The Rila Monastery, which rises impressively against the backdrop of the Rila Mountains, is even on the UNESCO cultural heritage list. The monastery is around 120 kilometers away from Sofia, making it a nice destination for a day trip.

The entire monastery complex is around 8,800 square meters and consists of several residential and farm buildings as well as churches. Inside you can visit more than 300 rooms, including around 100 monk cells. If you want, you can even spend the night in the monastery.

5. Nessebar

Nessebar is a city that is mentioned in every travel guide. This is located very close to Sunny Beach and impresses with a fantastically preserved old town. While the old town of Nessebar is on a peninsula, pay a visit to the port as well. Here you can buy freshly caught fish, among other things. In the old town of Nessebar, on the other hand, you will feel like you are in a huge open-air museum.

There are numerous well-preserved buildings from different style periods in the old town as well as ruins. These testify to the city’s long history. In the historical core there are eleven medieval churches to marvel at. The typical Black Sea houses are also not missing in Nessebar. These are made of stone at the bottom and wood at the top. After you have completed an extensive sightseeing tour, you should definitely visit one of the restaurants. Here you can try a typical dish. Traditionally, you will be served a fruit schnapps with it.

The bridge of Lovech

6. Melnik

With just 208 inhabitants, Melnik is the smallest town in Bulgaria. Nevertheless, it offers a special feature: Here a unique wine is made from the Schiroka Melnischka Losa grape variety. For wine lovers, Melnik is a recommendable travel destination in Bulgaria, especially since the old town is absolutely worth seeing.

7. Bansko

The city of Bansko is one of the strongholds of winter sports in the Balkans. This is not far from the above-mentioned Rila monastery. In addition to well-groomed slopes, there are rustic restaurants in Bansko. Interesting events also take place here on a regular basis. The place, located at an altitude of 925 meters, is not only a popular winter sports resort, but also a health resort.

There are numerous mineral springs in the area around Bansko. The range of wellness treatments in the most popular hotels in town is correspondingly large. Skiers and snowboarders will feel at home in Bansko, as there are a total of 75 kilometers of slopes. The longest of the slopes is 16 kilometers long. In Bansko itself there are also some interesting museums and more than 100 cultural monuments.

8. Cape Kaliakra

Cape Kaliakra is one of the scenic highlights of Bulgaria and one of the country’s top attractions. Located on the border between Bulgaria and Romania, the approximately 70 meter high cape should not be missed. Here you have a wonderful view of the sea.

It is most beautiful at the Cape, of course, at sunset. With a little luck you can even see some dolphins below the cape. At the Cape there is a recommendable restaurant and there are also souvenir stands. Noticeable: Here you can buy a lot of things you have designed yourself from local traders. So if you are looking for a nice souvenir, you are sure to find it.

9. Basarbowski Monastery

Not far from the city of Ruse you can visit the Basarbovsky Monastery. This is the only monastery in the country in which monks still live. The orthodox mountain monastery is an impressive rock monastery. Before entering the monastery, you pass a fountain via an inner courtyard.

The natives of Bulgaria believe that this well water has healing powers. The monastery can be visited; Unfortunately, there are no overnight accommodations available.

10. Pamporovo

Pamporovo is another popular winter sports destination in the country, which is located in the Rhodope Mountains. With a bed capacity of more than 7,000 beds, Pamporowo is one of the tourist strongholds. Given at an altitude of 1,650 meters, snow is guaranteed in the winter months.

On site you will find accommodations of all categories and price ranges; there is also a ski school. The selection of slopes is exemplary: in addition to green slopes for beginners, there are also red, blue and black slopes for experienced skiers.

Rock'not'Roll (Andrey)

Kotor Travel Guide

Kotor Travel Guide

Kotor is the beauty of the Adriatic. Kotor is one of the most popular resorts in Montenegro, with its beautiful old town.

KOTOR

Montenegro, Kotor is a real gem hidden in a Lonely Planet chose the 2016 top travel destination urban crowd. Kotor, still relatively unknown, enchants the tourist with its magnificent nature. The rugged and summer green mountains surround the small town of Kotor, whose oldest buildings date back to the 12th century.

Fall in love with the beauty of Kotor

The Bay of Kotor can be called one of the most beautiful bays in the world with a good conscience. The crystal clear Adriatic Sea shimmers like turquoise and the high-altitude mountains create impressive frames for it. The most impressive views can be witnessed by climbing the mountain roads or the Kotor Fortress. From the heights you can also look at one of the best preserved medieval cities in the Balkans.

Kotor’s Old Town represents typical medieval architecture and was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. Well-preserved medieval buildings and numerous cultural heritage monuments have guaranteed the city a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Kotor, with a population of about 13,500, is not bursting with activities, but offers ideal opportunities for leisurely walks through the narrow alleys of the old town, hunting for landscapes and historic sites in the mountains, and marveling at luxury yachts in the harbor. A friend of romantic romance can visit the abandoned hotel, located on one of the best beach plots in Kotor.

The mountains of Kotor

The mountains of Kotor offer a magnificent view of the bay and the city.

When to travel?

The Bay of Kotor has a Mediterranean climate, so summers in the city are toasty and winters are mild. The best time to travel to Kotor is May-June as well as September-October, when the weather is warm and the tourist season is not at its hottest. However, especially in the fall, you should be prepared for the fact that some restaurants or other services may have already closed their doors by the end of the season.

July and August are the hottest, driest and most popular months in Montenegro. In this case, it is worth being on time in traffic, for example when booking accommodation, and also take into account the fact that prices tend to rise during the season.

Enjoy protected nature and an affordable price level

Kotor attracts tourists especially with its exceptionally magnificent nature, which offers a fascinating setting for both city holidaymakers and those who are enthusiastic about hiking. The actual beach destination Kotor is not, but you can also take a dip in the turquoise sea if you wish.

Montenegro’s currency is the euro, and Kotor’s affordable price level will surprise the tourist positively. Within the walls of the Old Town, prices are higher, but still at a reasonable level for Finnish tourists. Outside the Old Town, however, you can enjoy, for example, excellent fish meals with wines at a much lower price than Finnish restaurants.

FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT AT HOME

FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT AT HOME

The old town of Kotor is exceptionally well preserved.

Direct flight to Montenegro

The easiest way to travel from Finland to Kotor is to fly to Tivat Airport, about 10 kilometers from Kotor. Norwegian operates from Helsinki to Tivat once a week. Tivat Airport is only about 10 kilometers from Kotor’s Old Town, and connections between the airport and Kotor are good by both bus and taxi.

Those hunting for cheap flights can also opt for alternative flights to the country’s capital, Podgorica, with a bus connection to Kotor. Buses to Kotor leave from Podgorica, but you can take a taxi directly from the airport.

Those who like Kotor can also buy a flight to the Croatian side to Dubrovnik and hop on a bus to Kotor there . You can also get a taxi ride from Dubrovnik to the Montenegrin side at a reasonable price.

Affordable accommodation in a hotel or private accommodation

Kotor offers accommodation for every budget, but in principle accommodation in the city is affordable. In the area you will find high-quality hotels for those who want it, but also cheap hostels even right in the heart of the old town.

Like the Balkans, the locals also offer accommodation in their own homes. These private inns are typically affordable, and the hospitable locals are happy to offer tips for the traveler. If you have not booked accommodation in advance, you will probably find locals offering accommodation at Kotor Bus Station.

Walking and public transport in Kotor

Kotor is easy to get around on foot, but if you want to experience the neighboring town of Budvan, for example, you can easily get there by local bus. The trip takes half an hour and costs a few euros.

You can also rent a car in Kotor, which can be a worthwhile option if you want to explore the city’s surroundings more widely. However, it is worth noting that the winding roads in the mountains are narrow and winding, and the local driving style is somewhat adventurous. An inexperienced driver should therefore rely on public transport and taxis.

KOTOR ATTRACTIONS

KOTOR ATTRACTIONS

The red brick-roofed buildings of Kotor’s Old Town are in themselves an interesting attraction.

Old Town

The UNESCO-listed Old Town of Kotor is one of the best-preserved medieval towns. In the alleys of the old town you will find several medieval churches and cathedrals, as well as charming squares and staircases.

The popularity of Kotor as a travel destination is constantly rising, and this is also reflected in the numerous tourist shops in the Old Town. However, the traveler should look deeper into the surface and enjoy the exceptionally fine architecture and history.

The walls of Kotor

Climbing the walls of Kotor is something that everyone visiting the city should experience. The views from the walls and especially from the fortress found at the top are breathtakingly magnificent – from here you will grab the best scenery of the trip.

Climbing requires good basic fitness, but the actual athlete does not have to be. Good shoes make climbing much easier. The scenery is at its best on a sunny day, but in summer it is a good idea to start climbing in the morning before the hottest hours. It takes a couple of hours to climb into the fort and back, so on a hot day, a bottle of water is a must.

Bay of Kotor

The foothills of Kotor Bay are not an attraction to look for in the city. However, it is this that gives Kotor its magnificent look. The Bay of Kotor combines rugged Nordic landscapes with a Mediterranean climate.

There are also islands in the Bay of Kotor, of which Our Lady On the Rocks is one of the most popular. It is an artificial island that, according to legend, was built after sailors found a picture of the Virgin Mary on the surface of a rock. The sailors made it a habit to throw a stone at that same place at the end of a successful voyage. From these stones the island is said to have been born.

Delicious food market

Kotor is not an actual shopping city, and you should only loosen purse strings at the food market. At the market you will find delicious air-dried ham, cheeses, olives and various fruits, of which figs in particular are wonderfully sweet.

THE BEST OF KOTOR

THE BEST OF KOTOR

Montenegro is known for its stunning mountain scenery.

The best experiences in Kotor

  1. Climb the walls of the old town
  2. Enjoy a cup of coffee in the hustle and bustle of the old town
  3. Visit the Maritime Museum
  4. Treat yourself to a fish meal at a local restaurant
  5. Explore the abandoned hotel Fjord

The best day trips from Kotor

  1. Perast
  2. Budva
  3. Skutarijärvi Nature Park
Turkey Defense and Foreign Policy

Turkey Defense and Foreign Policy

Foreign policy and defense

Turkey is a nation in Western Asia. Its capital city is Ankara. In two rounds since the beginning of the 2000s, Turkey’s position in the world has changed dramatically. During the first decade of the century, a greatly improved economy coincided with an increased activity of Turkish companies abroad and an intense diplomatic activity characterized by great self-confidence and an ambition for “zero problems with the neighbors”. From the beginning of the 2010s, things started to go down. Conflicts arose with almost every country in the region and an increasingly authoritarian policy within the country created some anxiety in the western world.

turkey military spending and defense budget

For a long time, membership in the NATO military alliance has been the basis of Turkey’s foreign policy. For many years, the hopes of a future membership of the EU also got the country to emphasize its opportunity to build a bridge between west and east. Membership in NATO is not directly questioned, but not without problems.

  • Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Turkey for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.

The United States has two air bases in Turkey and, at least until Donald Trump’s term as president, has placed great emphasis on relations with NATO’s only Muslim member state. But although Turkey has mostly been loyal to NATO, there are fairly widespread anti-American sentiments and often an annoyance to the United States within the Turkish leadership. In recent years, disagreements have risen in view of the war in Syria, where the United States has supported the Syrian-Kurdish guerrilla YPG, which has been one of the most effective opponents of the Islamic extremist Islamic State (IS) movement. Turkey, on the other hand, has fought the YPG, which is considered a branch of the Turkish-Kurdish guerrilla PKK. Following the attempted coup d’état in Turkey in 2016, the United States was accused of failing to distance itself quickly from the coup attempt. It has also been suggested that the United States was somehow involved in the coup by letting pastor Fethullah Gülen, of Turkey designated as the brains behind the conspiracy, live in the United States. There has been strong irritation in Turkey that the United States has not extradited him.

Disappointment to the EU

Turkey’s disappointment with the EU is evident. After long wishing to become a member of the EU, Turkey was recognized as a candidate country in 1999, albeit with reservations. To negotiate membership, the Turks must first improve respect for human rights and correct political abuses. This was precisely what progress-friendly forces in Turkey wanted to do, with the support of the EU. Soon there was a demand that Turkey’s Customs Union must include all EU members including Cyprus. Despite opposition from several EU countries, Turkey was allowed to negotiate membership in 2005, but negotiations were slow. EU adaptation in Turkey lost momentum, while Germany and France, in particular, raised new barriers to the prospect of entering a large, Muslim country in what some considered a kind of Christian community.

The EU has also been criticized for opposing Turkey while it was in a phase of democratization, but relied on Turkish support to resolve the acute crisis that arose with the great wave of refugees to Europe 2015, even though Turkey was then perceived as the next next to a dictatorship. At that time, Turkey was promised billions of euros to take care of refugees that the EU did not want, as well as increased pace in member negotiations. The support to the refugees comes in several forms, including smaller cash grants, but mainly as humanitarian aid through large, international organizations.

The schism between the EU and Turkey deepened after the coup attempt in 2016, when the EU was also accused of dragging its legs by standing on the government’s side. Turkey complained that promised refugee support was not paid and threatened to terminate the agreement. At the same time, Turkey demanded visa freedom for its citizens to the EU, while the EU demanded that Turkey first change the broad definition of “terrorism” which, among other things, led to mass arrests of tens of thousands of people after the coup attempt.

Especially with Germany, which has a large population group originating in Turkey, relations have been put to the test. 900 mosques in Germany are run by the Turkish Religious Authority, which pays the parish leaders’ salaries. In several German states, legislative changes are discussed that could make parishes less dependent on outside financial support (there is a voluntary church tax for Christians proposed as a model).

While the EU has for several years already acted in a way that Turkey perceived as patronizing and ruthless, and the negotiations virtually stopped, the Ankara government was aiming for other alliances. The AKP government began to pursue active diplomacy and trade in virtually all countries that were once part of the old Ottoman Empire. Even with Turkish-speaking former Soviet states in Central Asia, close contacts were made.

Support for Islamist parties

During the “Arab Spring” of 2011, tens of thousands of regime opponents in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries saw the Turkish AKP as an example of the party’s ability to combine basic Islamic values ​​with democratic and secular politics and liberal economic principles. But when a short-lived Islamic government in the most important country, Egypt, was overthrown by a new military regime, Turkey suddenly faced an enemy in Cairo instead of a friend. Turkey has insisted on considering the deposed Islamist President Muhammad Mursi as the legal leader of Egypt.

The attempts to gain influence in Tunisia and Libya since the dictatorship of the countries were overthrown were also unsuccessful, at least in the short term.

In 1949, Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize Israel. For decades, the countries had good relations, but in 2009 it happened when then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan resigned to Israeli President Shimon Peres for Israel’s actions in Gaza. In 2010, the crisis deepened when ten Turks were killed in an Israeli command raid against the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of an international convoy that would try to break the blockade of Gaza. Israel refused to apologize, which ended with Turkey canceling the military cooperation agreement and downgrading diplomatic relations. Following a new Israeli shooting of Gaza in 2012, Erdoğan described Israel as a “terrorist state”. Only in 2016 were relations normalized, since Israel agreed to pay damages to the ten killed Turks’ relatives. The relations were put to the test again in 2017 when the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. At the head of Sunni Muslim countries, Turkey then called for international recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

The settlement with Israel following the offshore events around the Gaza convoy was interpreted in the outside world as an attempt by Turkey to break the relative isolation the country has endured. This also applied to the reconciliation with Russia that happened at about the same time.

Relations with Russia had been relatively tense following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but when Turkey in 2015 cut down a Russian fighter aircraft in the border regions against Syria, the countries turned into enemies. Russia restricted trade with Turkey and stopped all charter tourism, which hit hard on the Turkish economy. The conflict also involved the most serious confrontation between NATO and Russia since the end of the Cold War. In 2016, President Erdoğan Russia apologized and met his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin. They agreed to try to restore normal relationships. The approach was facilitated by the fact that Russia had fared more quickly than the EU and the US from the coup attempt and that Putin did not criticize the mass arrests in Turkey. Normalization was considered to benefit both countries financially.

Worried leaders in the West feared that a new alliance between authoritarian leaders could be created and disrupt the balance of power in Europe. In the conflicts in Syria and Libya, Turkish-Russian relations have continued to arouse interest. Ankara and Moscow have supported opposite sides in both countries, but at the same time have tried to tie the grip on negotiations between warring parties in a way that has placed the Western powers and the UN alongside the development of events.

Hunting for Kurdish guerrillas

Turkey’s relationship with Syria has long been poor due to Syria’s support for the Kurdish guerrilla PKK and major Turkish irrigation projects that reduced the flow of water to Syria. Relations improved since Syria broke with the PKK in 1998, and Turkey saw itself as the only Western-friendly state that could talk to Syria. But when it failed to stop the bloody persecution of the Assad regime by the spring 2011 opposition, Turkey instead became one of the driving forces for power change in Syria. The disintegration of the Syrian state aroused strong concern in Turkey that Kurdish groups in Syria could establish some form of self-government along the Turkish border, similar to the conditions in northern Iraq. The Turkish government threatened to intervene if the PKK was allowed to establish new bases on Syrian land.

The civil war in Syria also affected Turkey in a concrete way through a strong current of refugees. The Turkish government estimated that the country would not be able to handle more than 100,000 refugees and proposed that the UN establish a protected zone for refugees on Syrian soil along the border. This rejected the Security Council as unrealistic. Turkey appealed to the EU for greater efforts. In 2013, the crisis in Syria worsened rapidly and the number of Syrians seeking protection in Turkey skyrocketed. In 2019, Turkey hosted more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees, one-tenth of which were in the established refugee camps.

Turkey’s attempt to contribute to overthrowing the Syrian regime at all costs is believed to have long left the country’s border with the southern neighbor country open to Sunni Muslim extremists, among them jihadists who would later call themselves Islamic State (IS). Turkey was criticized internationally for devoting more force to fighting Syrian-Kurdish guerrillas than IS. Only in late summer 2016 did Turkey pledge to seriously join the fight against IS and until then accept a continued role for the regime in Damascus. When IS was defeated (in 2019 battles were fought in desert areas that knocked out IS’s last real mounts), it was Kurdish-dominated forces that accounted for the largest efforts, with assistance from the US and other countries. But Turkey has not let go of its focus on Kurdish state-building efforts on Syrian soil. Three Turkish military offensive between 2016 and 2019 have focused on the Kurdish forces that Turkey describes as terrorists. The 2019 invasion, when the president also declared his intention to set up a zone where refugees from Syria would be sent back, took place in the face of deteriorating economy in Turkey and reduced voter support for Erdoğan and his party.

Turkey’s hostile attitude to the Syrian regime has strained relations with one of its most important partners, Iran. The fact that since 2011 NATO has a radar station on Turkish soil as a link in its defense shield against Iranian robots has also deteriorated the relationship. Iran has also criticized Turkey’s support for Sunni groups during the “Arab Spring”, as well as in the civil war in Yemen. However, an agreement in 2014 on increased economic cooperation and trade exchange is considered to have thawed relations. In 2017, Turkey, Iran and Russia rallied behind joint initiatives to end the civil war in Syria, with the condition of leaving Bashar al-Assad as head of state.

Although hundreds of Turkish companies operate in Iraq, the political relations between the countries are cool. By contrast, the AKP government has established relations with the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq and has great trade exchanges with the Iraqi Kurds, but without supporting the idea that they should form an independent Kurdish state. The export of oil directly from Kurdistan to Turkey for a time was condemned by the Iraqi government as illegal.

The Iraqi government is also opposed to the Turkish army’s repeated raids against the PKK on Iraqi soil. At the end of 2015, Iraq turned to the UN Security Council to remove a larger Turkish force. Since 2014, each year the Turkish parliament has extended a scheme that allows Turkish troops to be sent into Iraq and Syria to fight organizations that in Turkey are perceived as terrorist groups.

Cyprus sensitive issue

For historical reasons, Turkey-Greece relations have long been strained, but mutual aid following earthquakes in 1999 near Istanbul and Athens created a rapprochement and was followed by Greece’s veto of Turkish membership negotiations with the EU. Relations have been improving ever since, although it angered the Turkish leadership that the coup attempt in 2016 resulted in opponents of President Erdoğan seeking asylum in Greece. Erdoğan visited Greece in 2017, as the first Turkish President in 65 years. But he astonished his hosts by advocating a review of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, in which modern Turkey’s borders were established after the fall of the Ottoman Empire (see Ancient History).

The most serious conflict with Greece concerns Cyprus. The island, located near the Turkish coast, is divided between Greek Cypriots in the south and Turkish Cypriots in the north. The split was completed in 1974, when Turkey invaded northern Cyprus to prevent a military junta in Athens from uniting Cyprus with Greece. Only the Greek Cypriot government is internationally recognized, though not by Turkey. However, the republic proclaimed by the Turkish Cypriots is recognized only by Turkey, which has troops in northern Cyprus.

For many tour nationalists, the Cyprus issue is emotionally charged. Turkey has in the past sometimes threatened to incorporate northern Cyprus, but AKP has taken a softer stance in office. It was probably behind a crucial turn in Cyprus in 2003, when the Turkish Cypriots opened the border between both parts of the island. Among other things, following pressure from the Turkish government, a majority of Turkish Cypriots in 2004 voted in favor of the plan for the reunification of Cyprus presented by the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. However, the Greek Cypriots rejected the proposal and thus the Greek Cypriot government came to represent Cyprus when it joined the EU in 2004. Subsequently, Turkey’s refusal to recognize the Greek Cypriot government, and the entry of Cypriot vessels into Turkish ports, has been a major obstacle to the Turkish EU. -membership. Turkey also protests that the Greek Cypriot government has entered into an agreement on the country’s economic zone in the Mediterranean with, among others, Israel, without consulting Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots. Talks about reunification of the island have been held occasionally but not led to agreements.

When the Soviet Union disintegrated, new states emerged in Central Asia, inhabited by Turkmen. Turkey’s attempts to approach these peoples have had the greatest success in Azerbaijan, whose language is close to what is spoken in Turkey. Turkish companies are very active in Azerbaijan and Turkey supports the country in its conflict with Armenia.

History casts its shadow over the Turks’ relationship with the Armenians (see Population and Languages) and the Armenian issue also disturbs Turkey’s relations with other countries. A number of countries’ official recognition of the expulsion of the Armenians in 1915 as a genocide has always led Turkey to cool down diplomatic relations for a period of time. For example, this happened to Sweden in 2010.

Against China, the Turkish leadership has made sharp markings after reports of mounting repression against the Uighur people in Xinjiang.

In conjunction with the corona pandemic, Turkey 2020, despite the spread of infection in its own country, has contributed protective equipment to, for example, Italy, Spain and Palestine. And besides, sold drugs to Armenia.

Great defense and military exports

Turkey has one of NATO’s largest military alliances in NATO. It consists of around 600,000 men, including 500,000 conscripts. Since 2014, the general military duty for most people has been going on for twelve months.

Turkey has its own production of tanks, military aircraft, satellites and warships. Drones (unmanned vehicles) have been used by the Turkish military both against Kurdish guerrillas in the country and in warfare on the Syrian side of the border, both for reconnaissance and for assault against, for example, armored vehicles. Both state-run Turkish Aerospace and the company Baykar, run by the president’s US-trained sister-in-law Selçuk Bayraktar, are developing drones.

FACTS – DEFENSE

Army: 260,200 people (2017)

The air Force: 50,000 men (2017)

The fleet: 45,600 Men (2017)

Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 2.2 percent (2017)

Military spending’s share of the state budget: 6.4 percent (2017)

Cyprus Defense and Foreign Policy

Cyprus Defense and Foreign Policy

Foreign policy and defense

Cyprus is a nation in Western Asia. Its capital city is Nicosia. Cyprus’s foreign policy is mainly shaped by the relationship between Greece and Turkey, which is complicated by the question of Turkey’s possible EU membership. The world’s interest in the oil and gas deposits that are believed to be in the sea around Cyprus has led to closer cooperation with countries in the Middle East. In Greek Cypriot southern Cyprus, Russia’s influence is growing.

cyprus military spending and defense budget

On the Greek side, there is now hardly any talk of enosis (Cyprus’s association with Greece), but the ties between Greece and the Greek Cypriots are strong.

  • Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Cyprus for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.

Even stronger is the Turkish Cypriots’ ties to Turkey, the only country to recognize the self-proclaimed Turkish Cypriot state. After Cyprus became an EU member in 2004, cautious attempts by the Turkish Cypriot side to make a little greater independence towards Turkey were made. In the autumn of 2005, for example, the first military maneuver was held in northern Cyprus where no troops from Turkey participated.

The EU issue complicates the relationship between Turkey and Cyprus. Turkey does not recognize the Greek Cypriot government, although Turkey must do so if it wants to join the EU. The Greek Cypriots are trying to exploit Cyprus’ membership of the EU to force Turkey to recognize their government. The tendency seems to be that every round of negotiations between Turkey and the EU includes compromises with the Greek Cypriot government in order not to veto Turkey.

NATO and the United States

The NATO and US nations have their own military interests in Cyprus. The United States has a radar station in the Troodos massif in the south, and Britain has since the colonial period two military bases on the island. Many Greek Cypriots suspected that the US intelligence service CIA was involved in the 1974 coup d’état (see Modern History) and the subsequent Turkish invasion.

In order to encourage the Cypriots to reach a negotiated settlement, the United Kingdom has promised to return half of the land it owns in the event of a conflict resolution. The land shall be distributed among the parties. However, the bases should remain.

Agreement on sea borders

To enable sample drilling for oil under the seabed in the eastern Mediterranean, the Greek Cypriot government in 2006 signed an agreement with Egypt, and later with Lebanon, on how to delimit the Cyprus economic zone. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots protested against being consulted, claiming that exploration is illegal as long as the island is divided.

In March 2018, tensions increased as Turkey for several weeks tried to stop an Italian company from searching for oil and natural gas in disputed waters outside Cyprus. The EU condemned Turkey’s actions, which led to Turkey-EU irritation. Cyprus paid tribute to the EU’s condemnation.

In the fall of 2019, the situation worsened again after Turkey sent a ship to drill for gas off the southern coast of Cyprus in areas of the economic sea zone where the Cypriot government has already granted rights to drill to French and Italian companies. Turkey has claimed that some of the areas in which Cyprus drills are either in the Turkish continental shelf or in areas where Turkish Cypriots have equal rights to deposits. In early 2020, the EU sanctioned Turkey for test drilling already done.

Cooperation with Israel

The Greek Cypriot government’s relations with Israel during the 21st century have gone from strained to good – in almost exactly the opposite of Turkish-Israeli relations. Not least, the cooperation is about Israeli interest in joint exploitation of gas and oil deposits under the sea between the countries. In 2010, protests came from Turkey against an agreement between Cyprus and Israel on economic zones at sea. The Turks did not claim to have their own claims in the sea area, their demands were that the Turkish Cypriots should be included in the negotiations. In 2012, Cyprus and Israel also signed an agreement on defense and intelligence work. In early 2020, Cyprus, Israel and Greece signed an agreement to build a 190-mile gas pipeline to transport natural gas from Israeli and Cypriot gas fields to Europe.

Loans from Russia

Russia’s influence over the Greek part of Cyprus grew in the early 2010s. In 2011, Russia came to the rescue with a crisis loan of EUR 2.5 billion as the island’s economy began to decline. Russia has made major investments in Cyprus, but there have been suspicions in the EU that a significant portion of this money came from organized crime and that they were “washed” through the Cypriot banking system and then reinvested in Russia. In the context of the 2012 economic crisis, the Cypriot banking sector was regulated and the country’s days in which tax havens seemed to be over.

The EU and the US also suspect Russia of using Cyprus as an intermediary for arms deliveries to the Middle East, mainly Syria and Iran. The Russian intelligence service is also believed to use Cyprus as a base for its operations in the Middle East.

Cyprus and the EU

In 1990, the Greek Cypriot government applied for EC membership (EU from November 1993). In 1995, Greece was promised by other EU countries that membership negotiations would begin with Cyprus. In exchange, Greece refrained from vetoing a customs union between the EU and Turkey. When in 1997 the EU invited Cyprus to negotiate, only the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government was intended. However, the negotiations formally involved membership for the entire island.

Since the issue of reunification was unresolved when Cyprus joined the EU in May 2004, EU laws only applied to the southern Greek Cypriot part of the island.

At the same time, the European Commission proposed a package of measures to break the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, without recognizing the Turkish Cypriot Republic. The package included assistance and proposals to allow direct trade between the EU and the Turkish Cypriots. However, the Greek Cypriot government raised objections with the argument that trade with Turkish Cypriots would mean acknowledging their state. By blocking the entire package of measures, the Greek Cypriots were able to freeze half of the proposed aid until 2006.

In July 2005, a few months before Turkey was given the go-ahead to start its own EU membership negotiations, Turkey pledged to open its ports and airports for Cypriot vessels and aircraft. However, the Turks have not yet fulfilled the promise, but they argue that the isolation of Northern Cyprus must first be broken.

Defense

Cyprus is one of the world’s most militarized areas. More than 30,000 soldiers from Turkey are estimated to be in northern Cyprus. The Turkish military on the island has also had a significant political influence. It does not obey the Turkish Cypriot authorities but is under the command of its own general staff. A formal defense pact exists between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot “state”.

The Greek Cypriot government has a defense pact with Greece. At Paphos in the southwest, a military air base was inaugurated in 1998, which the Greek Air Force may also use. The previous recurring military exercises between Greeks and Greeks on the one hand (southern Cyprus) and Turks and Turkish Cypriots (on the north) on the other were down in 2001–2005, as they sought to facilitate UN reunification negotiations.

The Greek Cypriot Defense Force (National Guard) is a combination of ground, air and naval forces as well as special forces and consists of around 12,000 men. For men between the ages of 18 and 50 there is general military duty, which for most people lasts for 24 months.

Since 1964, the UN has a peacekeeping force in Cyprus, UNFICYP (UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus). UN troops patrol an 18-mile buffer zone between northern and southern Cyprus. The width of the zone varies between seven kilometers and a few meters. Since the division of the island in 1974, the task of the UN troops has been to prevent open war. However, in practice, the peace force would not have been an effective obstacle if either side really wanted to attack. In March 2016, the UN had 995 military, 68 police and 33 civilian foreign workers on the island. Until 1987, Sweden had a battalion in Unficyp.

FACTS – DEFENSE

Army: 15,000 men (2017)

Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 1.9 percent (2017)

Military spending’s share of the state budget: 5.0 percent (2017)