Umit's Feed
Mar 20, 2014

First U.N. aid trucks cross from Turkey into Syria

NUSAYBIN, Turkey, March 20 (Reuters) – Several U.N. aid
trucks crossed from Turkey into Syria for the first time on
Thursday, a Reuters witness said, a step relief officials hope
will pave the way for greater humanitarian access to area
hardest hit by the country’s civil war.

The trucks, mostly from the U.N. World Food Programme,
crossed at the Nusaybin border post taking food supplies,
bedding and medicine to the ethnic Kurdish city of Qamishli in
Syria, according to officials.

Feb 10, 2014
via Photographers' Blog

Prayers during wartime

Photo

Midyat, Turkey

By Umit Bektas

Sunday mass has just begun in Mort Shmuni Syriac Orthodox Church. It is seven o’clock in the morning and the streets of Midyat, where the majority of the population is Muslim Kurdish, are empty.

But despite the calm outside, the historical church is overcrowded with a community of three hundred people, mostly children. Candles are lit, hymns are sung and prayers are made.

Oct 28, 2013

Turkish police fire water cannon to break up protest

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish police fired water cannon and teargas on Monday to break up a protest by around 2,000 people outside an Ankara court over the handling of the trial of a policeman accused of killing a demonstrator earlier this year.

A group of protesters wielding sticks descended on the court entrance after a ruling that the accused officer could take part in court hearings via video link, prompting police to intervene, a Reuters witness said.

Sep 8, 2013

Turkey adds troops, weapons on southeastern border with Syria

HATAY, Turkey (Reuters) – Turkey has bolstered its defenses and deployed additional troops on its southeastern Syrian border in recent days as the United States tries to build international support for a military strike on Syria.

The reason for the additional security measures were not clear but Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said Turkey was ready to take part in any international coalition against Syria.

Jun 2, 2013

Erdogan accuses Turkish opposition of provoking anti-government protests

ISTANBUL/ANKARA, June 2 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan accused Turkey’s main secular opposition party on Sunday
of stirring a wave of anti-government protests, as tens of
thousands regrouped in Istanbul and Ankara after a lull and
trouble flared again in the capital.

Police used tear gas on protesters in Ankara but the clashes
were relatively minor compared with major violence in Turkey’s
biggest cities on the previous two days.

Jun 2, 2013

Calm on Turkish streets after days of fierce protests

ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) – Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Turkey’s main secular opposition party on Sunday of stirring a wave of anti-government protests, as tens of thousands regrouped in Istanbul and Ankara after a lull and trouble flared again in the capital.

Police used tear gas on protesters in Ankara but the clashes were relatively minor compared with major violence in Turkey’s biggest cities on the previous two days.

Apr 4, 2013
via Photographers' Blog

Anxious for peace

Photo

Cizre in Turkey’s Sirnak province, near the border with Syria

By Umit Bektas

Turkey’s fledgling peace process with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group is all over the headlines. After three decades of war, 40,000 deaths and a devastating impact on the local economy, everybody seems ready for peace. TV news channels and newspapers are saturated with opinions and commentary from politicians, officials, academics and journalists on what appears to be the best hope yet of building a lasting peace agreement with Kurdish militants.

But what about ordinary people in Turkey’s southeast, those most directly affected? How do they view the peace process and how might their lives change?

Jul 30, 2012

Turkish military convoys deploy at Syrian border

KILIS, Turkey, July 30 (Reuters) – Turkey sent at least four
convoys of vehicles carrying troops and missile batteries to the
border with Syria on Monday amid growing concern in Turkey about
security on its southern frontier, witnesses and news reports
said.

It was the latest in a series of deployments in the region
in recent weeks. There is no indication that Turkish forces will
cross the border, and the troop movements may be strictly
precautionary in the face of spiralling violence in Syria.

Jul 16, 2012
via Photographers' Blog

What an Olympian eats

Photo

By Umit Bektas

I have always wondered how athletes, who must exert incredible amounts of energy in whichever sports discipline they compete in, handle the issue of nutrition. As the London Olympics approached us, we Reuters photographers began to make our photo stories. I decided to create a photography project stemming from this curiosity of mine. I planned to interview some of the Turkish athletes preparing to compete in the Games and take pictures of what they ate. Sometimes you think a project that sounds good will also be easy to carry out and this is very exciting but when you actually become involved that euphoria is replaced by anxiety. This is exactly what happened to me.

SLIDESHOW: AN OLYMPIC DIET

The hardest part was to persuade the athletes to spare a few hours in the studio which meant taking a break from their exercise program. I wanted to take photos of six athletes but I was rejected by at least three times that number of other athletes. Some said they were training abroad, or in other cities. For others, their trainers rejected my request saying their charges would “lose their concentration”.

Jun 8, 2012

Olympics-No Hunger Games for Turkish calorie counters

June 8 (Reuters) – Turkish javelin thrower Fatih Avan rests
in the shadow of a tree during a brief respite from his Olympic
training session. While the Games have a special place in his
heart, he is mindful of what he puts in his stomach.

“I may have become an elite athlete with my good
performances but I can only be a great athlete if I can win an
Olympic medal,” he says.