Jonathon's Feed
May 18, 2012

Spat with Iraq bares Turk plunge into regional power game

ANKARA (Reuters) – A bitter rift with Iraq has exposed Turkey’s role in a wider Middle East power struggle, with Ankara acting to protect its stability and prosperity from an Iranian-Iraqi “Shi’ite axis” it fears in the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq.

Turkey, a Sunni Muslim but secular regional power bordering Iraq, Iran and Syria, long tried to play regional mediator as Shi’ite Muslim giant Iran and Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia jostled for sway in a region now undergoing political upheaval.

May 18, 2012

48 hours in Hatay, Turkey

HATAY, Turkey (Reuters) – With thousands of refugees now taking shelter in Hatay after fleeing violence just across the border in their Syrian homeland, Turkey’s panhandle province has been in the news over the past year for all the wrong reasons.

But spend a couple of days exploring this fascinating subculture of Turkey and you will discover an area steeped in ancient history, hospitality and tolerance – Jews; Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians; Sunni, Shi’ite and Alevi Muslims all worship here in virtual harmony.

May 18, 2012

Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Hatay, Turkey

HATAY, Turkey (Reuters) – With thousands of refugees now taking shelter in Hatay after fleeing violence just across the border in their Syrian homeland, Turkey’s panhandle province has been in the news over the past year for all the wrong reasons.

But spend a couple of days exploring this fascinating subculture of Turkey and you will discover an area steeped in ancient history, hospitality and tolerance – Jews; Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians; Sunni, Shi’ite and Alevi Muslims all worship here in virtual harmony.

May 17, 2012

EU, Turkey launch bid to revive accession process

ANKARA (Reuters) – The European Union has lost appeal for the Turkish people after years of stagnation in Ankara’s accession talks but a new “positive agenda” launched on Thursday will aim to revive the process, the bloc’s enlargement chief said on Thursday.

Formal entry negotiations began in 2005 but the process has ground to a virtual halt in recent years, blocked by an intractable dispute over the divided island of Cyprus and opposition from core EU members France and Germany.

May 15, 2012

Turkey warns against sectarian view of Syrian conflict

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday the violence in Syria should not be viewed as a sectarian or ethnic conflict, and those who did so risked setting the whole region on fire.

In an apparent reference to Shi’ite Iran, Ankara’s main rival in the region and closest ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Erdogan called on Shi’ites to see the conflict in Syria only through “brotherly eyes”.

May 9, 2012

Syrians’ plight touches Turkey’s “Little Afghanistan”

OVAKENT, Turkey (Reuters) – When Abdul Maraf Yildiz looks at the thousands of Syrian refugees flooding across the border into southern Turkey, he sees himself, 30 years ago.

Yildiz was only two in 1982 when his family fled the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and found sanctuary in Hatay, the Turkish province that has become a magnet for Syrians escaping President Bashar al-Assad’s repression.

May 9, 2012

Syrians’ plight touches Turkey’s “Little Afghanistan”

OVAKENT, Turkey (Reuters) – When Abdul Maraf Yildiz looks at the thousands of Syrian refugees flooding across the border into southern Turkey, he sees himself, 30 years ago.

Yildiz was only two in 1982 when his family fled the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and found sanctuary in Hatay, the Turkish province that has become a magnet for Syrians escaping President Bashar al-Assad’s repression.

Apr 30, 2012

Turkey approves gas exploration in Cypriot waters

ANKARA, April 30 (Reuters) – Turkey’s cabinet has given
approval for Turkey’s state-run oil firm to carry out oil and
gas exploration in six offshore areas around the island of
Cyprus, drawing condemnation from the Cypriot government which
lays claim to the territory.

The move could escalate an ongoing row between Turkey and
the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus over who has
the right to tap hydrocarbon deposits in the eastern
Mediterranean.

Apr 19, 2012

Turkey arrests more officers over 1997 coup

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish police hauled in a top retired general along with several fellow officers for questioning on Thursday over their role in the overthrow of Turkey’s first Islamist government in 1997.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which itself has Islamist roots, has made curbing the military’s political influence one of its main missions, and state prosecutors have pursued officers suspected of conspiring against current and former governments.

Apr 14, 2012

World powers seek to ease nuclear deadlock with Iran

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Iran and six world powers began rare talks on Saturday to try to halt a downward diplomatic spiral over Tehran’s nuclear program and ease fears of a new Middle East war.

The talks, in Istanbul, the first between Iran and the six powers in 15 months, are unlikely to yield any major breakthrough but Western diplomats hope to see readiness from Tehran to start to discuss issues of substance.