Umit's Feed
Oct 11, 2015

Protesters gather at scene of Ankara bombings; 95 dead

ANKARA (Reuters) – Thousands of people, many chanting anti-government slogans, gathered in central Ankara on Sunday near the scene of bomb blasts which killed at least 95 people, mourning the victims of the most deadly attack of its kind on Turkish soil.

Two suspected suicide bombers hit a rally of pro-Kurdish and labor activists near Ankara’s main train station on Saturday, three weeks before an election, shocking a nation beset by conflict between the state and Kurdish militants.

Oct 2, 2015

No school for 400,000 Syrian refugee children in Turkey – official

ANKARA (Reuters) – Out of 640,000 Syrian children in Turkey, 400,000 are not at school, a Turkish official told Reuters on Friday, warning that those who miss out are likely to be exploited by “gangs and criminals”.

Educating the children among more than 2.2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey – most of whom live outside purpose-built camps – is seen as a critical part of the humanitarian response to the four-and-a-half-year-old conflict.

Sep 20, 2015

Migrants brave deadly dinghies, Turkish coastguard for new life

ANKARA, Sept 20 (Reuters) – It is nighttime on a beach near
the resort town of Bodrum and a group of migrants look out
nervously at two ships on the horizon, wondering if they can
slip past the Turkish coastguard and cross the Aegean Sea into a
new life in Europe.

But their dinghies are poorly made and slow, and the
coastguard has stepped up patrols in the area, where the body of
toddler Aylan Kurdi washed up, sparking international outrage.

Jun 16, 2015

Turkey sees signs of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by Kurdish fighters in Syria

ISTANBUL/AKCAKALE (Reuters) – Turkey accused Kurdish militia in northern Syria of persecuting civilians on Tuesday and said it saw signs of “a kind of ethnic cleansing”, drawing a parallel to the actions of Islamic State militants and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian Kurdish-led forces captured the town of Tel Abyad on the Turkish border on Monday from Islamic State, driving the jihadists away in an advance backed by U.S.-led air strikes.

Jun 15, 2015

Syrian Kurds claim capture of border town from Islamic State

AMMAN/AKCAKALE, Turkey (Reuters) – Syrian Kurdish-led forces said they had captured a town at the Turkish border from Islamic State on Monday, driving it away from the frontier in an advance backed by U.S.-led air strikes that has thrust deep into the jihadists’ Syria stronghold.

The capture of Tel Abyad by the Kurdish YPG and smaller Syrian rebel groups means the Syrian Kurds effectively control some 400 km (250 miles) of the Syrian-Turkish border that has been a conduit for foreign fighters joining Islamic State.

Jun 15, 2015

Syrian Kurds on outskirts of Islamic State border town: Reuters witness

BEIRUT/AKCAKALE, Turkey (Reuters) – Syrian Kurdish fighters took up positions on the outskirts of the Islamic State stronghold of Tel Abyad on Monday and a Kurdish militia spokesman said they had surrounded the northern Syrian border town.

A Reuters photographer at the scene saw the Kurdish YPG militia fighters on the edge of Tel Abyad, as they pushed ahead with an offensive to seize strategic territory from the Islamic State jihadists with support from U.S.-led air strikes.

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


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.