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Archive for Switzerland

Newsline: Turkish embassy accused of spreading propaganda in Switzerland

The Turkish embassy to Switzerland faces accusations of supporting ‘war games’ involving pupils attending special classes in a public Swiss school. The tabloid SonntagsBlick reported that children staged war games during a performance in the village of Uttwil attended by hundreds of Turks in Switzerland and diplomatic guest of honour from Turkey. The play was apparently staged with the backing of the Turkish embassy trying to promote nationalist propaganda among the expat community in Switzerland, according to SonntagsBlick. Neither the St Gallen authorities nor the Turkish embassy were reportedly willing to comment. However, a coordinator for the special classes is quoted as saying the organisers of the play – re-enacting the 1915 Battle of Gallipoli – had probably gone too far. The battle, which left more than 100,000 people dead, is often regarded as a defining moment in the history of modern-day Turkey, as the Ottoman Empire crumbled and the western allies were defeated by Turkey’s armed forces. SonntagsBlick says the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan uses the military history to foment the idea of Turkey as a major world power.



Newsline: Iran Summons Swiss Ambassador Over US Envoy’s ‘Irresponsible’ Missile Claim

Iran has responded to US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s statements concerning the evidence, the Trump administration allegedly has, proving that the Islamic republic had violated UN resolutions by exporting weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen. “Iran’s strong protest at (Nikki) Haley’s baseless and provocative claim was conveyed to the Swiss ambassador,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said as quoted by Tasnim news agency. Iran, via the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, expressed protest over US statements, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi has explained. “In protest against irresponsible statements by the US ambassador to the United Nations, the Swiss ambassador in Tehran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, where Iran’s official protest was expressed to him regarding the ungrounded accusations by Nikki Haley,” the ministry said.


Newsline: Swiss embassy to represent Iran interests in Saudi Arabia

Switzerland is to represent Iranian interests in Saudi Arabia, following the 2016 break in diplomatic relations between the Gulf rivals, the Iranian foreign ministry announced. It said an accord has been signed for the opening of an Iranian interests section at the Swiss embassy in Riyadh. According to Iranian media, Switzerland, which already represents US interests in Iran, will also house a Saudi interests section at its Tehran embassy. Iran and Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations after Iranian protesters stormed Saudi missions in January 2016.


Newsline: Wife’s Tweet Rampage Costs Czech Republic’s Ambassador to Switzerland His Job

The Czech Republic’s ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Karel Boruvka, has been dismissed because of his wife’s activities on social networks, Lidovky.cz reported. Czechia’s ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein has been recalled to Prague thanks to the tweets of his outspoken wife, whose eagerness to share her thoughts on social networks has led to her husband’s dismissal. Karel Boruvka told Lidovky.cz that he was informed of the reason for his removal by Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek. Rather than serving in Bern until the end of his four-year term next summer, he has been ordered to return home by the end of the month. “Without any justification, I have been informed that I have to leave my post by April 30. From my personal communication with the (foreign) minister, I was accused of not being able to restrain my wife and her communications on social networks and that is the reason for my immediate dismissal,” Boruvka told Lidovky.cz. Foreign Ministry spokesman Michael Lagronov confirmed that Boruvka has been ordered to return to Prague. “The head of the embassy is stepping down, in accordance with the law on state service. This can be done at any time for any reason,” Lagronov said. Alena Boruvkova’s prolific tweeting got her husband fired in less than two days: she posted her first tweet on March 30. ​One of Boruvkova’s most explosive tweets accused a government minister of having an affair with another civil servant, Lidovky.cz reported. That tweet has since been deleted. She also criticized the Foreign Ministry’s State Secretary as an “idle babbler.” On Friday, Boruvkuva took to Twitter again to protest against her husband’s dismissal, in which she saw “clear sexual harassment.”


Newsline: Turkey summons Switzerland’s ambassador over rally in Bern

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned the Swiss ambassador to Ankara over a protest in Bern targeting Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The protest had Kurdish groups among its organizers. The ambassador, Walter Haffner, was told that Turkey expects the Swiss authorities to bring the organizers of the protest to justice and to prevent such “incidents” in the future. “We are protesting this rally that explicitly promoted violence and terrorism and has been permitted, and we ask Switzerland to take immediate legal action against this offense,” the ministry said in a statement, as cited by the Turkey’s Hurriyet daily. The demonstration, which was held in central Bern, was attended by some 3,000-3,500 people, the Swiss media report, citing the event’s organizers. The protesters marched through the city center and then held a rally in front of the federal parliament building. They were chanting anti-Erdogan slogans and were holding numerous placards that read, “For Democracy in Turkey.”


Newsline: Iran protests Trump’s visa ban through Swiss ambassador

Iran summoned Switzerland’s ambassador, who represents Washington’s interests in Tehran, to protest President Donald Trump’s visa ban on Iranians, the foreign ministry said. Swiss ambassador Giulio Haas was “handed a letter of protest on the recent executive order by the US President and the imposed limitations and discriminatory behaviour against Iranian citizens travelling to America,” said spokesman Bahram Ghasemi. A senior diplomat told the ambassador that Trump’s order was “baseless, discriminatory and unacceptable”. Ghasemi said Iranian citizens have been victimized by “US-backed terror groups” for decades, and been law-abiding citizens wherever they have settled. Haas said he would communicate the protest promptly to the US State Department. With more than one million Iranians living in the US, Trump’s visa ban — which covers seven Muslim countries — has caused has chaos for students, businessmen and families.


Newsline: US ambassador took oath of office on Kindle

US Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Suzi LeVine took her oath not by placing her hand on the Constitution or the Bible, but on a Kindle. On May 30, Suzi LeVine was sworn in as the US ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. But instead of placing her hand on the Bible or the US Constitution as is customary, LeVine took the oath of office on an Amazon Kindle Touch. To be fair, the Kindle displayed the 19th amendment of the US Constitution while she took the oath, but it’s still the strangest swearing in we’ve come across.