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Jul 27, 2012

Kurdish worries drag Turkey deeper into Syria war

LONDON/ISTANBUL (Reuters) – - Turkey may be some way from acting on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s threat to strike Kurdish separatists in Syria, but week by week it finds itself sucked ever further into its neighbor’s worsening war.

The shooting down of a Turkish reconnaissance jet last month was seen by many as a turning point, prompting Ankara to join Saudi Arabia at Qatar in semi-covert support for the Free Syrian Army fighting against President Bashar al-Assad.

Jul 24, 2012

Syrian Kurdish moves ring alarm bells in Turkey

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Concerns are surfacing in Turkey about the growing influence in northern Syria of a Kurdish group linked to Kurdish separatists fighting Ankara, something Turkey fears may further complicate efforts to solve its intractable Kurdish problem.

Syria’s Kurdish areas have been largely spared the worst of the violence in the 16-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, and Syrian Kurds see a chance to attain the freedoms enjoyed by their ethnic kin in neighboring northern Iraq.

Jul 12, 2012

Cigna buys 51 pct of Turkey’s Finans Emeklilik

ISTANBUL, July 12 (Reuters) – U.S. insurer Cigna Corp
has signed a deal to buy a 51 percent stake in Finansbank’s
wholly owned insurance unit Finans Emeklilik for 85
million euros ($104 million), giving it access to the fast
growing Turkish market.

Finansbank, owned by National Bank of Greece, said
it will retain the remaining 49 percent in the pensions and life
insurance company, the sixth largest bancassurance company in
Turkey.

Jun 29, 2012

Insight: Turkish generals look to life beyond prison bars

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – They once bestrode Turkey the masters of all they surveyed. Governments were swept aside, a prime minister dispatched to the gallows. Even in quiet times, from their staff headquarters opposite parliament, they commanded obedience.

Now around 20 percent of serving generals are in prison accused of plots against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, imaginatively codenamed Sledgehammer, Ergenekon, Blonde Girl, Moonlight.

May 17, 2012

Turkey says Israeli plane violates N.Cyprus airspace

ISTANBUL, May 17 (Reuters) – Turkey said on Thursday it had
scrambled military jets to intercept an Israeli plane that
violated northern Cypriot airspace this week, and demanded an
explanation for the incursion.

An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment on the
accusation. But the incident marked a fresh source of tension
between the former allies.

May 10, 2012

Turkey’s PM, generals unite in anger at writer’s Aesop fable

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A journalist’s fable portraying the Turkish military as a spoilt, overfed dog has provoked a rare show of unity by top generals and the Prime Minister seen by many as their nemesis.

“This is an individual whose pen always drips with filth,” Erdogan said of columnist Bekir Coskun, whose account of a privileged military that puts comfort and security before freedom drew on a fable from ancient Greek writer Aesop.

May 9, 2012

Turkish PM turns critical of 1997 “coup” investigation

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was drowning in waves of arrests of military officers accused of coup conspiracies and called for the investigations, which his government has backed, to be wrapped up more quickly.

Around 50 retired and serving officers, some very senior, have been held over the last month in raids linked to the 1997 toppling of Turkey’s first Islamist-led government. The arrests run parallel to trials of hundreds of officers, businessmen and academics accused of involvement in other alleged coup plots.

May 8, 2012

Turkish investigations cast shadow over powerful army-run conglomerate

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Born of a 1960 coup, Turkey’s OYAK army pension fund has become a potent symbol of military economic power with interests from cement to car production. Now, as the generals’ political influence dwindles with arrests and coup trials, OYAK is attracting unwanted attention.

OYAK chairman Yildirim Turker, a retired lieutenant-general, languishes in jail awaiting trial on accusations dating back before his chairmanship to a 1997 ‘soft coup’ that forced an Islamist-led government from power. An OYAK security firm’s employees stand charged in connection with another coup plot and a parliamentary sub-commission has begun scrutinizing its activities after complaints from OYAK members.

May 7, 2012

Turkish ex-army chief absent as coup plot trials merged

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Former Turkish armed forces commander General Ilker Basbug failed to appear among defendants in a mass trial over suspected coup conspiracies, witnesses said, in an apparent protest at the merging of his case with other coup investigations.

The court held the first hearing on Monday combining a series of trials into suspected members of an alleged arch-nationalist network called Ergenekon.

Apr 27, 2012

Army pension fund chief held in Turkey’s 1997 “coup” probe

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The head of Turkey’s military-run business conglomerate was jailed on Thursday pending trial over the 1997 toppling of the country’s first Islamist led government, raising a symbolic challenge to the military’s economic power.

The Ankara court order to jail retired lieutenant-general Yildirim Turker along with eight other serving and retired officers, brought the number held pending trial to 35 since prosecutors launched an investigation earlier this month.

    • About Daren

      "I am based in Istanbul where I cover a broad range of financial and general news. I joined Reuters in Ankara in 1996 and left Turkey to work in London in 2000. I returned to Istanbul in 2003."
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