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Jun 3, 2010

Activists describe “bloodbath” on Gaza-bound ship

ISTANBUL/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Freed after days held incommunicado in Israeli jail, survivors of Monday’s storming of an aid ship described a “bloodbath”, with people shot before their eyes and desperate efforts to treat the wounded.

Those aboard the flotilla returned home on Thursday after being held in Israeli jail since the raid, at last able to give their own accounts of the incident in which Israeli troops killed nine activists aboard the cruise liner Mavi Marmara.

Jun 3, 2010

Witnesses describe shootings on Gaza-bound ship

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Witnesses aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship gave graphic accounts of people being shot dead after Israeli commandos stormed aboard, but denied activists opened fire with pistols snatched from the boarding party.

Canadian Farooq Burney described watching an elderly man bleed to death, while the head of a Turkish charity that organised the aid flotilla said an Indonesian doctor was shot in the stomach and a photographer in the forehead.

Jun 3, 2010

Turkish charity chief tells of carnage, chaos on ship

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The head of a Turkish charity that organised the aid flotilla attacked by Israeli forces said activists had rushed some of the soldiers and snatched their weapons, but had thrown them overboard without using them.

Bulent Yildirim, chairman of the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), denied Israeli accounts of events on board the Mavi Maramara after Israeli commandos stormed the ship on Monday in an operation that resulted in at least nine people being killed.

Jun 2, 2010

Israelis pointed guns at our heads – Turkish captain

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – An Israeli warship threatened to sink Captain Huseyin Tokalak’s ship before young commandos boarded the Turkish-flagged Gazze and trained their guns on him and his crew.

“They pointed two guns to the head of each of us,” Tokalak told a news conference on Tuesday. “They were really interesting guns, like the ones you see in the movies.”

May 18, 2010

Turkey says not time to raise Iran sanctions

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey said on Tuesday that Iran has shown political will to solve a dispute with the West over its nuclear program and said it was not time to discuss further U.N. sanctions.

Iran agreed on Monday with Brazil and Turkey, two non-permanent members of the Security Council, to send some of its uranium abroad, reviving a fuel swap plan drafted by the United Nations with the aim of keeping its nuclear activities in check.

May 18, 2010

Leaders of Turkey, Brazil pin hopes on Iran deal

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – By getting Iran to agree to swap stocks of low enriched uranium that could have been used for making a nuclear bomb, Brazil and Turkey have thrust themselves into the unfamiliar centre of a global dispute.

They could have delivered a diplomatic coup with the deal struck in Tehran on Monday.

Mar 30, 2010

Turk government sends reform package to parliament

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Abdullah Gul warned his own supporters in government to be careful on Tuesday as they sent to parliament a bitterly disputed constitutional reform package that strikes at the heart of the secular elite.

The proposals to overhaul the judiciary, make the military accountable to civilian courts and make it harder to outlaw political parties challenged the country’s nationalist establishment.

Feb 26, 2010

High-ranking military arrests stir fresh Turkey concern

ISTANBUL, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Two retired generals were
charged on Friday over a plot to unseat the government, raising
the stakes in a potential stand-off between the ruling party and
armed forces that has hit Turkish markets.

The two were the most senior military figures so far to be
charged over an alleged 2003 plot. Hours earlier, police had
conducted a second wave of military detentions, widening an
investigation that has seen more than 30 officers arrested and
prompted an emergency summit among Turkey’s leaders.

Feb 26, 2010

Release of Turkey generals eases tensions for now

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish stocks and the lira currency edged higher on Friday after prosecutors released three retired generals suspected of plotting a coup, easing fears of a showdown between the government and military that had hit markets.

But the threat of confrontation between Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party and the secular armed forces remained, as investigations continued into the three men, who were among 50 officers detained at the start of the week.

Feb 26, 2010

Turkey hopes releases head off crisis with military

ISTANBUL, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Turkey has freed three retired
military commanders detained on suspicion of plotting to topple
the Islamist-rooted government, but it remains unclear whether
they will yet face charges.

Turkish financial markets will probably welcome on Friday
their release as a sign the likelihood of a full-blown
confrontation may be receding.