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May 10, 2015

Eyeing greater power, Erdogan rallies Turks in Europe ahead of vote

KARLSRUHE/ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Defying opposition calls to stay out of campaigning, President Tayyip Erdogan rallied Turks in Europe on Sunday, urging them to vote in a June general election he hopes will help bring him greater powers.

Erdogan is constitutionally bound to remain above party politics after becoming head of state last August. But opponents say he has used rallies around Turkey, and now Europe, to lobby for the ruling AK Party ahead of an election that could reshape Turkey’s political landscape.

May 9, 2015

Former Turkish President Evren, symbol of military era, dies at 97

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s former army chief and president, Kenan Evren, who led a 1980 coup and came to symbolize the military’s decades-long dominance over politics, has died at 97, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Saturday.

Evren, who had been receiving treatment at a military hospital in Ankara, suffered multiple organ failure as a result of old age and was pronounced dead late on Saturday, Anadolu said, without citing its sources.

May 8, 2015

Regional crises push Turkey, Saudi closer despite ideological rift

ANKARA (Reuters) РTurkey is cultivating closer relations with Saudi Arabia’s new leadership, putting aside long-standing differences over political Islam and aligning efforts to solve regional crises including the war in Syria.

The rapprochement between two of the Middle East’s biggest powers already appears to be paying dividends in Syria, helping to drive advances by Islamist rebels fighting side-by-side with Western-backed groups against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

May 6, 2015

Turkish econ min sees stronger growth, may act on food prices

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish growth will pick up as uncertainty over a June election clears, leaving more room for interest rate cuts, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said, adding the government may lift some food import restrictions to fight inflation.

In an interview with Reuters late on Tuesday, Zeybekci said he expected growth to accelerate to well above 1.5 percent in the second quarter and that a 4 percent government growth target this year remained attainable.

May 1, 2015

Turkish police fire tear gas, water cannon at May Day protesters

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon at hundreds of stone-throwing May Day protesters on Friday, after they defied a ban and tried to march on Istanbul’s Taksim Square.

Europe’s biggest city was under a security lockdown as thousands of police manned barricades and closed streets to stop demonstrations at Taksim, a traditional rallying ground for leftists that saw weeks of unrest in 2013.

May 1, 2015

Istanbul goes into security lockdown to stop May Day rallies

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Istanbul went into a security lockdown on Friday as thousands of police manned barricades and closed streets to stop May Day rallies at Taksim Square, a symbolic point for protests.

Citing security concerns, authorities shut down much of the city’s public transport and dispatched riot police to block Taksim off from demonstrators. A traditional rallying ground for leftists, the central square saw weeks of unrest in 2013.

Mar 23, 2015

Erdogan’s lobbying exposes fractures in Turkey’s ruling party

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Anyone watching the multitude of Turkish television stations broadcasting President Tayyip Erdogan’s speeches on an almost daily basis might be forgiven for thinking he was the one standing in a June election.

His lobbying for the ruling AK Party ahead of the parliamentary election and interference in government affairs while holding what has long been a ceremonial post is raising the hackles of senior ministers and exposing fractures in the party he founded more than a decade ago.

Mar 18, 2015

U.S. wants Assad out, Germany says talks with him may be necessary

ISTANBUL/BERLIN (Reuters) – The United States still wants a negotiated political settlement in Syria that excludes President Bashar al-Assad, according to a senior U.S. envoy, but Washington’s close ally Germany said talks with the Damascus government might still be necessary.

As German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosted talks of the coalition against Islamic State on Wednesday which included the U.S. special envoy John Allen, the pair appeared to contradict each other on how to handle Assad’s government.

Mar 9, 2015

Turkish central bank chief tries to sidestep Erdogan pressure

ISTANBUL, March 9 (Reuters) – Turkish Central Bank Governor
Erdem Basci, a technocrat reluctantly thrust into a standoff
with President Tayyip Erdogan, appears to believe he will
eventually ride out the storm.

In his shoes, many bank chiefs might already have quit.
Erdogan’s relentless demands for sharper interest rate cuts, his
assertion that the bank is under outside influence, and his
equating of high rates with treason have left Basci struggling
to restore investors’ confidence.

Feb 23, 2015

In soldiers’ rescue, Turkey plays off warring sides in Syria

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – By extracting dozens of its soldiers surrounded by Islamist fighters in Syria, Turkey has warded off a potential crisis and shown its ability to maneuver between rival warring parties, including Islamic State.

Several hundred Turkish ground troops, backed by tanks and drones, mounted an eight-hour operation on Saturday night to evacuate the 38 soldiers guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire.

    • About Nick

      "Based in Lagos since early 2008, responsible for coverage of Africa's most populous nation. Previously based in Senegal for four years, covering West and Central Africa, and before that in Germany and Britain."
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