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Feb 13, 2013

Turkey moves to boost freedom of expression

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey has drafted changes to the penal code, narrowing the definition of terrorist propaganda in a step to boost freedom of expression in line with EU demands and potentially encourage a fledgling peace process with a jailed Kurdish militant leader.

The bill, presented to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday and likely to be sent to parliament this month, may lead to the release of defendants accused of links to Kurdish rebels, a justice ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Feb 7, 2013

Jailed rebel leader holds power to end Turkey’s Kurdish conflict

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Sitting across the table from top Turkish officials, jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan wields the power to silence guns across southeastern Turkey which have killed more than 40,000 people in a three decade-old insurgency.

Reviled by most Turks and held in virtual isolation since his 1999 capture, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader has expressed in fledgling peace talks with Ankara a will to end a conflict which both sides realize they cannot win militarily.

Jan 31, 2013

Kurdish militants dismiss Turkey withdrawal reports

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The Kurdish militant PKK group said on Thursday media reports that its fighters had agreed to withdraw from Turkey as part of a peace pact to end their 28-year-old insurgency were lies and part of a psychological war.

The Sabah newspaper on Thursday said Kurdistan Workers’ Party guerrillas had agreed to withdraw to northern Iraq, where the group is based, by March 21 as part of peace talks with the PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan started late last year.

Jan 29, 2013

Kurdish militants set for Turkey ceasefire in February: paper

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Kurdish militants will halt hostilities with Turkey in February according to the timetable of a fledgling peace process aimed at ending 28 years of insurgency, a report in a mainstream newspaper said on Tuesday.

Turkish intelligence officials began talks with jailed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan in late 2012 and preliminary talks have also been held with PKK members in northern Iraq, where most of the group’s several thousand militants are based, it said.

Jan 29, 2013

Kurdish militants set for Turkey ceasefire in Feb-paper

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Kurdish militants will halt hostilities with Turkey in February according to the timetable of a fledgling peace process aimed at ending 28 years of insurgency, a report in a mainstream newspaper said on Tuesday.

As an initial confidence-building step, around 100 fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla group will hand in their weapons and leave Turkey, the Hurriyet said.

Jan 25, 2013

Turkey approves court reform, Kurds remain critical

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s parliament has passed a law allowing defendants to use Kurdish in court, but Kurdish politicians said it fell short of their demands as the EU candidate country seeks to advance peace talks with the jailed leader of a 28-year-old insurgency.

Kurdish and nationalist deputies clashed verbally and nearly came to blows during a tense debate over the bill late on Thursday seen aimed at breaking a deadlock in trials of hundreds accused of links to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.

Jan 25, 2013

Turkey approves court reform, addressing Kurdish demand

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s parliament passed a law late on Thursday allowing defendants to speak Kurdish in court, addressing a key demand of Kurdish politicians as Ankara seeks to advance peace talks with the jailed rebel leader of a 28-year-old insurgency.

Kurdish and nationalist deputies clashed verbally and nearly came to blows during a tense debate over a reform seen aimed at breaking a deadlock in trials of hundreds of people accused of links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group.

Jan 23, 2013

Kurdish militant chief denies links to suspect in Paris murders

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A Kurdish militant commander denied the suspect held over the killing of three activists in Paris was a member of his group, accusing the Turkish state of involvement in the murders in an interview with a rebel-linked news agency.

The murders overshadowed Turkey’s moves to begin peace talks with the rebels and their top field commander, Murat Karayilan, said on Wednesday the government was conducting a “psychological war” rather than sincerely trying to end the conflict.

Jan 21, 2013

Soccer-Sneijder arrives at Galatasaray after surprise move

ISTANBUL, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Wesley Sneijder, once one of the world’s most outstanding players, received a rapturous welcome in Istanbul on Monday as he arrived to tie up his move to Galatasaray after surprising pundits by choosing Turkey rather than a higher profile league.

Hundreds of Galatasaray fans cheered, let off flares and burst through a line of riot police to get close to Sneijder after live television footage showed him emerging from a private jet at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.

Jan 17, 2013

Thousands rally for funeral of slain Kurdish activists

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) – Thousands poured onto the streets of Turkey’s main Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Thursday for the funeral of three Kurdish activists killed in Paris, chanting pro-militant slogans as their coffins passed through the crowds.

The three women, including a co-founder of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), were killed in execution-style shootings in the French capital last week in what many saw as an attempt to derail a nascent peace process between the Turkish state and the guerrillas.

    • 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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