Ayla Jean's Feed
Jun 5, 2015
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Gay, Christian, Roma election candidates show Turkey’s changing face

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(Selina Dogan Ozuzun (2nd R), an Armenian candidate for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), poses with her supporters during an election rally for Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary election, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 2, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal)

Candidates from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community – along with Christians, Roma and members of dozens of other ethnicities and cultures – are running for parliament this weekend in large numbers for the first time.

Apr 9, 2015
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Two Turkish journalists face jail terms for Charlie Hebdo cover

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(A private security employee stands guard at the entrance of daily newspaper Cumhuriyet’s offices, in Istanbul January 14, 2015. Turkish police took security measures around the offices of daily newspaper Cumhuriyet after it published a four-page spread of Charlie Hebdo cartoons. REUTERS/Murad Sezer)

A Turkish prosecutor is seeking prison terms for two journalists who republished the cover of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo featuring an image of the Prophet Mohammed, their newspaper said on Wednesday.

Apr 6, 2015
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Turkey unveils restored Great Synagogue of Edirne as Jewish population fades

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(Pre-renovation photo of Edirne’s Great Synagogue, 10 September 2010/Yabanci) )

When the domes of Edirne’s abandoned Great Synagogue caved in, Rifat Mitrani, the town’s last Jew, knew it spelled the end of nearly two millennia of Jewish heritage in this Turkish town.

Jan 14, 2015
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Orthodox Christians retrieve holy cross from icy Istanbul waters

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More than a dozen swimmers have braced the icy waters of Istanbul’s Golden Horn to take part in one of the world’s oldest polar bear plunges: the ancient Greek Orthodox rite celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany.

After prayers on Epiphany, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians, tossed a wooden cross into the brackish waters of the Golden Horn, an estuary that runs along Istanbul’s oldest quarter, to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River and the appearance of the Holy Spirit 2,000 years ago. The event is held here every Jan. 6, and this year it coincided with the coldest winter storm this season.

Jul 23, 2014
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Turkey’s top cleric calls new Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ illegitimate

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(Mehmet Gormez, head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, shakes hands with a onlooker during a visit to the Gazi Husrev Begova mosque in Sarajevo, November 15, 2012. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic )

Islamic State, an armed group formerly allied to al Qaeda that has captured swathes of territory across Iraq, last month declared its leader, Ibrahim al-Baghdadi, “caliph” – the historical title last held by the Turkish Ottoman sultan who ruled much of the Muslim world.

Jun 6, 2014
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Muslims pray to turn Turkey’s greatest monument back into a mosque

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(Hagia Sophia in Istanbul August 23, 2013. REUTERS/Murad Sezer )

It has served as the exalted seat of two faiths since its vast dome and lustrous gold mosaics first levitated above Istanbul in the 6th Century: Christendom’s greatest cathedral for 900 years and one of Islam’s greatest mosques for another 500.

Today, the Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya in Turkish, is officially a museum: Turkey’s most-visited monument, whose formally neutral status symbolizes the secular nature of the modern Turkish state.

Feb 28, 2014
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Generations on, Christians fleeing Syria return to Turkish homeland they once fled

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(Syriac Christians from Turkey and Syria attend a mass at the Mort Shmuni Syriac Orthodox Church in the town of Midyat, in Mardin province of southeast Turkey February 2, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

When Louis Bandak fled the violence in Syria, he sought refuge in the country his grandfather was forced to abandon exactly 90 years ago this week.

Dec 24, 2013
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Turkish PM Erdogan and Muslim cleric Gulen tangle over corruption scandal

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(A demonstrator holds a shoe box, as a reference to reported shoe boxes of cash found in the house of Halkbank CEO Suleyman Aslan, during a demonstration against Turkey’s ruling Ak Party (AKP) and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara December 21, 2013. The sign at left reads: “Government has to resign.” REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

A war of words escalated on Monday between Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and a cleric with powerful influence in the police and judiciary, worsening political turmoil unleashed by a corruption scandal.

Aug 5, 2013
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Istanbul’s last White Russians pray for rooftop church’s survival

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(Greek Orthodox priest Visarion of the Ecumenical Greek Orthodox Patriarchate (L) chats with a Russian Orthodox woman following a service at St. Elijah Church in Istanbul August 2, 2013. REUTERS/Murad Sezer )

About 25 Russian Orthodox have celebrated a divine liturgy for the first time in four decades at their rooftop church they fear may be demolished to make way for a tourism project.

Jul 2, 2013
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Turkish Jews worried after politician links diaspora to recent protests

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(Members of Turkey’s Jewish community gather at Etz Ahayim Synagogue to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Istanbul January 27, 2013. REUTERS/Murad Sezer )

A Turkish deputy prime minister linked the “Jewish diaspora” to recent anti-government unrest and the country’s Jewish community expressed fears on Tuesday the comments could make them targets of popular anger.