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Nov 17, 2012

Jailed Kurd militant leader could help end hunger strike, lawyers say

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – When lawyers for Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan ask to visit him in an island prison south of Istanbul, they are usually told the boat that would ferry them there has broken down.

They have not seen him for more than 15 months, and have not been able to ask Ocalan what he thinks about the hunger strike by hundreds of his supporters in jails across Turkey. But they believe the PKK leader could play a role in ending the protest.

Nov 12, 2012

Erdogan moots restoring death penalty in Turkey

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey should consider bringing back the death penalty, a decade after Ankara abolished capital punishment as part of reforms aimed at European Union membership.

Political commentators accused Erdogan of populism ahead of the 2014 presidential election in which he is widely expected to run.

Nov 8, 2012

Turkish generals angered by Kurd militant testimony

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Retired Turkish military commanders have expressed fury that a former top Kurdish rebel has been allowed to testify against them in a coup trial, citing it as proof the proceedings were meant only to intimidate and undermine the armed forces.

Semdin Sakik, known as “Fingerless Zeki” when number two in the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), this week waived his anonymity at the ‘Ergenekon’ conspiracy trial at which hundreds, including military men, academics, businessmen and journalists, are accused of plotting to oust the Islamist-rooted government.

Nov 8, 2012

Turkish generals angered as Kurd militant testifies against them

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Retired Turkish military commanders expressed fury that a former top Kurdish rebel was allowed to testify against them in a coup trial, citing it as proof the proceedings were meant only to intimidate and undermine the armed forces.

Semdin Sakik, known as “Fingerless Zeki” when number two in the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), waived his anonymity this week at the ‘Ergenekon’ conspiracy trial at which hundreds, including military, academics, businessmen and journalists, are accused of plotting to overthrow the Islamist-rooted government.

Nov 6, 2012

Turkey to allow Kurdish language to be used in court

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Kurdish militants appear to have achieved their aim of being able to speak in their own language in court after the Turkish government said it would soon submit a bill to parliament on the subject.

Courts’ refusal to allow defendants who speak Turkish to use Kurdish in their defense has been a source of controversy in ongoing court cases against hundreds of defendants accused of links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group and resolving the issue has been one of several key Kurdish demands.

Nov 6, 2012

Turkey to allow Kurdish in court as hunger strike enters day 56

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The Turkish government has said it will soon submit to parliament a reform allowing defendants to use languages other than Turkish in court, a key demand of jailed Kurdish militants whose hunger strike entered its 56th day on Tuesday.

The refusal of courts to allow defendants who speak Turkish to use Kurdish in their defense has been a source of controversy in ongoing court cases against hundreds of defendants accused of links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group.

Nov 5, 2012

Fitch upgrades Turkey to investment grade

ISTANBUL, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Fitch Ratings upgraded Turkey to
investment grade on Monday, a move long coveted by Ankara,
citing underlying strengths and an easing in near-term risks for
the economy.

The credit ratings agency highlighted a moderate and
declining government debt burden, a sound banking system,
favourable medium-term growth prospects and a relatively wealthy
and diverse economy.

Nov 5, 2012

Turkish Airlines shares jump on Lufthansa talk

ISTANBUL, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Turkish Airlines is
to cooperate more closely with Lufthansa, its chairman
was quoted as saying on Monday, helping push shares in Turkey’s
flag carrier five percent higher.

This follows comments by Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan at the weekend that the two companies were to deepen
existing ties. Erdogan said on Saturday he had agreed to a
proposal by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to establish “joint
management” of the two carriers.

Nov 2, 2012

Turkey’s Erdogan sees tough path to constitutional reform

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said in published remarks on Friday he was losing hope of building cross-party support for reforms that could see him installed in a newly empowered presidency but was determined to push the plans forward.

Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics since his Islamist-rooted AK Party swept to power in 2001, trouncing the opposition in three elections, delivering unprecedented economic growth and bringing a staunchly secular military to heel.

Nov 1, 2012

Risk of death close for Turkish hunger strike – doctors

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Jailed Kurdish militants on hunger strike in Turkey may start to die within the next 10 days, Turkey’s main medical association warned on Thursday, saying the prime minister’s dismissal of the protest as a “show” risked hardening their resolve.

The hunger strike entered its 51st day on Thursday, with some 700 prisoners refusing food in dozens of prisons across Turkey, demanding the government grant greater Kurdish minority rights and better conditions for their jailed leader.

    • 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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