ANKARA (Reuters) – Before cheering crowds, he dons the mantle of tragic hero, comparing his enemies to leeches, reciting a poem that once saw him jailed for sedition and invoking the memory of his political hero, toppled and hanged by the generals.
Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan, shaken by a graft scandal he says is concocted by a former ally, is fighting to secure his political future in the run up to March polls. But more than that, he sees at stake the legacy of an 11-year drive to reshape Turkey, breaking the hold of a secular, urban elite.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s foreign minister said Syria’s worsening war now posed a danger to all countries because President Bashar al-Assad’s government had been allowed to continue its “crimes” while jihadists from around the world flooded in to fight him.
Ahmet Davutoglu told Reuters a robust international strategy including “real intelligence cooperation” and withdrawal of all foreign fighters was needed to end the conflict and help millions of Syrians devastated by violence.
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused political rivals of shameless fabrication of a telephone tap of him telling his son to dispose of large sums of money on the day police raided houses in a graft inquiry into his government.
In a dramatic session of parliament after posting of the 11-minute audio tape on YouTube, Erdogan said his political enemies had penetrated encrypted state communications. He did not name the opponents but made it clear he was talking of a network run by former ally, Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.
MONTREUX, Switzerland (Reuters) – A U.N. envoy was to meet delegations from Syria’s government and its foes on Lake Geneva on Thursday, trying to salvage peace talks after an acrimonious start by focusing on local ceasefires and prisoner swaps rather than a political deal.
The first day of the talks on Wednesday was dominated by fierce rhetoric from President Bashar al-Assad’s government and its foes. Brought together for the first time in almost three years of war, each accused the other of atrocities and showed no sign of compromise.
GENEVA (Reuters) – Syria peace talks were in disarray on Tuesday before they began, buffeted by a botched U.N. invitation to Iran, an explosion in Beirut and new evidence that appears to show Bashar al-Assad’s government has tortured and killed thousands.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s unexpected, last-minute decision on Sunday to invite President Assad’s main foreign backer Iran – only to withdraw the invitation a day later – proved a diplomatic fiasco, undermining talks that are already given little chance of success.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Former Lebanese Minister Mohamad Chatah, who opposed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and four other people were killed in a massive bomb blast that targeted his car in Beirut on Friday, security sources said.
Chatah, 62, a Sunni Muslim, was also a critic of Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbollah movement and an adviser to former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – More than two and a half years into the civil war devastating Syria, the United States and Russia are pushing the combatants to the negotiating table in Geneva, but on terms that mark a shift in favor of Bashar al-Assad against the increasingly fragmented rebels seeking to oust him.
Since the August 21 nerve gas attacks on rebel suburbs ringing Damascus, which brought the U.S. to the brink of a missile assault on Assad’s forces, the diplomatic tide has turned against the opposition, which briefly believed external intervention would enable its forces to launch a final offensive.
BEIRUT, Nov 15 (Reuters) – More than two and a half years
into the civil war devastating Syria, the United States and
Russia are pushing the combatants to the negotiating table in
Geneva, but on terms that mark a shift in favour of Bashar
al-Assad against the increasingly fragmented rebels seeking to
Since the Aug. 21 nerve gas attacks on rebel suburbs ringing
Damascus, which brought the U.S. to the brink of a missile
assault on Assad’s forces, the diplomatic tide has turned
against the opposition, which briefly believed external
intervention would enable its forces to launch a final
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said on Saturday that Egypt would look beyond the United States to meet its security needs and warned Washington that it could no longer ignore popular demands in a changed Arab world.
Speaking ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Fahmy said the United States must take a long-term view of its relations with Egypt and understand that in the wake of the Arab Spring, “it would have to deal now with the Arab peoples, not only with Arab governments”.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – In the photograph the two robed men stand shoulder-to-shoulder, one tall and erect, the other more heavyset. Both smile for the camera. The picture from Tehran is a rare record of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meeting Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi’ite paramilitary group.
Taken in April during a discreet visit by the Hezbollah chief to his financial and ideological masters, the photograph captured a turning point in Syria’s civil war and the broader struggle between Sunnis and Shi’ites, the two main branches of Islam. It was the moment when Iran made public its desire for Hezbollah to join the battle to help save Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, diplomats said. At the time, Assad and his Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, were losing ground to an advancing Sunni insurgency.