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Zeman led the race with 38.6 percent o

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Posted 12:40 am, 11/09/2018

" Russia-friendly Czech President Milos Zeman won the first round of voting to retain his job on Saturday [url= http://www.teamsteelersjers...sey/]Javon Hargrave Steelers Jersey[/url] , but pro-western runner-up Jiri Drahos will be a formidable opponent in the second round vote in two weeks, nearly complete results showed.

The vote is seen as a referendum on the 73-year-old Zeman, in office since 2013, who has criticized immigration flows from Muslim countries and Germany's decision to accept migrants.

While most Czechs share his views on immigration, Zeman's inclination towards far-right groups and his warm relations with Russia and China have split public opinion [url= http://www.teamsteelersjers...rsey/]Sean Davis Steelers Jersey[/url] , with a sizeable chunk of the electorate favouring pro-western candidates, including 68-year-old academic Drahos.

Czech presidents have limited executive powers, but Zeman and his predecessors have had a strong influence on public debate. They are also pivotal in forming governments.

With votes from 98.9 percent of districts counted, Zeman led the race with 38.6 percent of votes, while Drahos had won 26.6 percent.

That mean s a run-off needs to be held [url= http://www.teamsteelersjers...sey/]Artie Burns Steelers Jersey[/url] , and the balance of power may be closer than the first round showed. Four other candidates who ended between the third and sixth place and among them won 32.5 percent, all endorsed Drahos for the second round due on Jan. 26-27.

""This looks hopeful,"" Drahos told supporters and reporters at a Prague theatre after most results had come in.

Zeman, who had shunned public debates ahead of the first round, accepted Drahos' challenge to a television duel and said he hoped voters could make up their own mind.

The outcome may also influence Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis's chances of forming a cabinet. His first attempt to rule in a minority administration is likely to be rejected by parliament next week.

(Agencies)

"

ANKARA [url= http://www.teamsteelersjers...ey/]Joshua Dobbs Steelers Jersey[/url] , Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Violations of Turkish airspace by Russian fighter planes deployed in Syria have raised alarm bells in Turkey, prompting NATO to issue warning against Russia.

On Tuesday, the Turkish military issued a statement saying that a squadron of F-16 jets on patrol duty on Monday were radar locked by a Russia-made MIG-29 over Turkish-Syrian border. The F-16s were also targeted by surface to air missile batteries stationed in Syria.

The incident followed Russia's violations for twice of Turkish airspace over the weekend.

A Su-30 bomber crossed the Syrian-Turkish border for a few seconds on Saturday, prompting Turkish F-16 to scramble for interception. Russia said the incursion was a mistake due to unfavorable weather conditions, adding that other alleged violations are under investigation.

However [url= http://www.teamsteelersjers...sey/]James Conner Steelers Jersey[/url] , NATO said the Russian violation appeared to be deliberate.

On Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the airspace violation unacceptable. "It doesn't look like an accident, and we've seen two of them over the weekend," said Stoltenberg.

NATO defense ministers will be meeting in Brussels on Thursday to talk about NATO measures to respond Russian actions in a member country.

"Both Russia and Turkey should be cautious in their moves and work to diffuse the tension," Serkan Demirtas [url= http://www.teamsteelersjers...y/]Cameron Sutton Steelers Jersey[/url] , a Turkish analyst, remarked.

Stressing that Syria has turned into a dangerous battlefield between the U.S.-led coalition and the Russian camp, he said, "any unwanted, unintentional development could lead to serious consequences that will surely have enormous effects on Turkey as well."

Turkey [url= http://www.teamsteelersjers...rsey/]JuJu Smith-Schuster Steelers Jersey[/url] , having some 900 km border with Syria, frequently scrambles jets to intercept air space violations.

On February 2014, a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Syrian MIG-23 that violated Turkey's air space in line with what Ankara said new rules of engagement.

After a Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet was shot down by Syrian air defense in 2012, Turkey announced that the rules of engagement for the Turkish military were changed so that any Syrian military element approaching the border would be considered a threat.

In September 2013, Turkish warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter after it crossed into the Turkish airspace.

Some analysts believe the fallout from recent tension will take its toll on Turkey-Russian bilateral ties.

Yasar Yakis [url= http://www.teamsteelersjers...-jersey/]T. J. Watt Steelers Jersey[/url] , former Turkish foreign minister, believed that the Russian military presence and attacks on opposition groups supported by Ankara will have a profound impact on Turkey.

"Turkey and Russia decided to compartmentalize their relations and not let the problem in one area negatively affect cooperation in the other," he noted. "However, due to this conflict of interest, political fallout and strained bilateral relations appear unavoidable."

Turkey has strong trade ties with Russia and is heavily dependent on Moscow for its natural gas supplies. "The spillover from a serious military confrontation between Russia and Turkey was exposed immediately [url= http://www.teamsteelersjers...sey/]James Washington Steelers Jersey[/url] , almost within hours," local Hurriyet Daily News reporter Gunes Komurculer said.

She was referring to the Russian gas company Gazprom's announcement that it would halve the capacity of the planned Turkish Stream pipeline which will carry gas from Russia to Europe through Turkey and Greece.

TOUGH TALK FROM TURKEY LEADERS

During his official visit to Belgium, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Tuesday that Turkey would not remain patient for these violations. He said Russia would lose a lot if it destroyed its friendship with Turkey.

Erdogan's remarks followed statements of Turkey's acting Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who warned on Monday that rules of engagement apply to all planes, whether they're from Syria or Russia [url= http://www.teamsteelersjers...y/]Terrell Edmunds Steelers Jersey[/url] , hinting that foreign fighter jets could be shot down.

Raising a shoot-down scenario, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday in Chile that "It's precisely the kind of thing that, had Turkey responded under its rights, could have resulted in a shoot-down."

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