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Mar 15, 2012

Turkey raises buffer zone option as more Syrians flee

REYHANLI, Turkey (Reuters) – Turkey said on Thursday it might consider backing a ‘buffer zone’ inside Syria to cope with a flow of refugees across its border that has increased sharply with a Syrian government offensive against rebels in the nearby Idlib region.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said a thousand refugees had crossed the border in the last 24 hours, fleeing attacks by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Among them was a general, the seventh top ranking Syrian officer to have defected to Turkey.

Mar 15, 2012

Turkey says 1,000 Syrians fled in last 24 hours

GUVECCI, Turkey (Reuters) – A government offensive in Syria’s northwest has sharply increased the flow of refugees into Turkey, with about a thousand crossing in the last 24 hours, Turkish officials said on Thursday.

The numbers fleeing was expected to grow further as long as fighting continued around the town of Idlib, close to the Turkish border, one Turkish official said; but he declined to say how many more Turkey was expecting.

Mar 14, 2012

On the Turkish border, a stream of fleeing Syrians

KAVALCIK, Turkey (Reuters) – The Syrian refugees appeared silently through the late morning fog, at first one by one, then in groups of five or more, settling on the damp grass just behind the barbed wire fence that separates their homeland from Turkey.

Within an hour up to 100 people, mostly women carrying babies or leading young children, sat huddled, clutching what little possessions they could carry across the hills, and waited patiently for the Turkish military to arrive before crossing over to register and be transported to camps.

Mar 9, 2012

UN’s Amos says Syria wants more time on aid access

ANKARA, March 9 (Reuters) – U.N. humanitarian chief
Valerie Amos said on Friday she had demanded unhindered access
for humanitarian aid to victims of Syria’s turmoil, but
President Bashar al-Assad’s government had not yet given it.

“The Syrian government has asked for more time to look at
the agreement that I have put to them. It is very important
indeed in my view that we get unhindered access,” she said in
Ankara after a visit to Syria.

Feb 22, 2012

For Syrian children, a picture tells a thousand words

BOYNUYOGUN, Turkey (Reuters) – A man lies on the street, bleeding from a gunshot wound to his chest, clutching a single red rose. In the foreground, a soldier fires a shot from the hatch of his tank, a red flame bursting from the barrel of his gun. A second man flails his arms as he too is shot in the chest.

On the street behind them stands a group of protesters, their faces expressionless. Two men hold placards inscribed in Arabic: “The people want the downfall of the regime”, “Down with the traitor of the nation”.

Feb 14, 2012

Turkish opposition blasts new government spy bill

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s main opposition accused the prime minister on Tuesday of trying to tighten his grip on the security services with a proposed law that would curb the powers of the judiciary to investigate senior intelligence officials.

It was hastily drafted after prosecutors summoned Turkey’s top spy last week and lawmakers from Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party pushed it through a parliamentary commission on Tuesday night. It will be put to a general assembly vote this week.

Feb 11, 2012

Turkish prosecutor removed amid spy agency row

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s state prosecution service has removed a prosecutor responsible for summoning the head of the spy agency from the case, state media said on Saturday, in an apparent attempt to resolve a row between the government and the judiciary.

On Wednesday, state prosecutors summoned Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s national intelligence agency, MIT, and other officers to answer questions about secret talks the agency held with the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Feb 7, 2012

Turkey plans new Syria initiative after U.N. “fiasco”

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey is preparing a new initiative with countries who oppose the Syrian government and its bloody crackdown on unrest, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, calling a veto by China and Russia of a U.N. resolution on Syria as a “fiasco.”

“We are going to start a new initiative with those countries that stand by the people, not the Syrian government. We are preparing this,” Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling AK Party in Ankara, giving no further details on the move.

Jan 26, 2012

Exclusive: Halkbank to handle Iran payments so long as legal

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish lender Halkbank will continue to handle customers’ oil payments to Iran as long as they comply with international regulations, the bank’s general manager said in the wake of fresh, unilateral U.S. and EU sanctions.

Halkbank’s dealings with Iran drew attention last year when Indian refiners disclosed they were channeling oil payments through the Turkish bank as their own central bank had shut its payment facility, fearing U.S. retribution.

Jan 26, 2012

Turkey’s Halkbank to handle Iran payments so long as legal

ANKARA, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Turkish lender Halkbank
will continue to handle customers’ oil payments to
Iran as long as they comply with international regulations, the
bank’s general manager said in the wake of fresh, unilateral
U.S. and EU sanctions.

Halkbank’s dealings with Iran drew attention last year when
Indian refiners disclosed they were channeling oil payments
through the Turkish bank as their own central bank had shut its
payment facility, fearing U.S. retribution.