ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey on Monday criticized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for asking Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to delay his planned visit to the Palestinian Gaza Strip, in a blunt put-down that underlined often prickly ties between the NATO allies.
Erdogan, who has for years spoken of his desire to visit the Palestinian enclave, said last week he planned to go in late May after an official visit to the United States earlier in the same month.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey passed a long-awaited asylum law on Friday that will enhance protection for people seeking refuge, but retained restrictions on applications from those from outside Europe.
Turkey’s position as a bridge from Asia to Europe, as well as its wealth compared with neighboring states, has long made it both a destination and a transit point for migrants from the Middle East and as far afield as Africa and South Asia.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey is building two camps along its far southeastern border with Syria to house a growing number of refugees from Syrian minority groups, mainly Assyrian Christians as well as ethnic Kurds, a government official said on Wednesday.
More 250,000 Syrians fleeing civil war in their homeland have registered in Turkey, most of whom stay in 17 camps along the 900-km (560-mile) border, although Turkish leaders say the total number of refugees is closer to 400,000.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey has canceled the first ever scheduled Turkish flights to its long-time rival Armenia, days before the first plane was due to take off, officials have said, following fierce opposition from Turkey’s ally and energy partner Azerbaijan.
The twice-weekly flights between Turkey’s eastern city of Van and the Armenian capital Yerevan were due to begin on April 3 and, encouraged by a U.S. push for rapprochement, were meant to boost bilateral tourism and trade.
ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey denied on Thursday it had rounded up and deported hundreds of Syrian refugees following unrest at a border camp, highlighting the strain the exodus from Syria’s civil war is placing on neighboring states.
Witnesses said hundreds of Syrians were bussed to the border after Wednesday’s clashes in which refugees in the Suleymansah camp, near the Turkish town of Akcakale, threw rocks at military police, who fired teargas and water cannon.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Colonel Riad al-Asaad, founder of the insurgent Free Syrian Army (FSA), had his leg severed by an explosion in rebel-controlled Syria in an apparent assassination attempt, opposition sources said on Monday.
His wounds were not life-threatening and he was now in hospital in Turkey, a Turkish official said.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish authorities have detained four Syrians and a Turk in connection with a bomb attack at a crossing along the Turkey-Syria border last month, the interior minister said on Monday.
The suspects had links to Syrian security forces, minister Muammer Guler said.
A minibus with Syrian number plates exploded at the busy Cilvegozu border gate near the Turkish town of Reyhanli on February 11, opposite the rebel-held Syrian gate of Bab al-Hawa, killing 14 people and wounding dozens more.
ANKARA (Reuters) – The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said on Sunday there could be two or three times the 1 million registered Syrian refugees outside the country by the end of 2013 if the rise in numbers continues at its current rate.
The 1 millionth Syrian refugee was registered in Jordan on Wednesday, following a dramatic acceleration in the number of civilians fleeing fighting in their homeland in the first two months of this year.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has accused the country’s media of trying to undermine a nascent Kurdish peace process and called on journalists to censor themselves if they love their nation, prompting a rare rebuke from a normally compliant press.
In a heated public speech over the weekend, Erdogan condemned an article in the daily Milliyet newspaper, which published a transcript of a meeting last month between militant chief Abdullah Ocalan and Kurdish politicians.
ANKARA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday criticized a comment by Turkey’s prime minister likening Zionism to crimes against humanity in a disagreement that cast a shadow over talks between the NATO allies.
Kerry, on his first trip to a Muslim nation since taking office, met Turkish leaders for talks meant to focus on the civil war in neighboring Syria and bilateral interests from energy security and Iran’s nuclear program to counter-terrorism.