• Armenia and Azerbaijan step up fighting in fiercest clashes since 1990s
    YEREVAN/BAKU, September 28 (Reuters): Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated sharply on Monday in and around the mountain territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and at least 30 people were killed in a second day of heavy clashes. Forces of the two ex-Soviet neighbours pounded each other with rockets and artillery in the fiercest explosion of the decades-old conflict in more than a quarter of a century. Any move to all-out war could drag in major regional powers Russia and
  • Turkey prepares second indictment of six Khashoggi murder suspects - media
    ISTANBUL, September 28 (Reuters): Turkish prosecutors have prepared a second indictment in connection with the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, naming six new Saudi nationals as suspects, broadcaster CNN Turk and other media said on Monday. Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen at the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2, 2018, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding. Turkish officials believe his b
  • Turkey's Erdogan calls on Armenians to stand against leadership amid clashes with Azerbaijan
    ANKARA, September 27 (Reuters): Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday called on Armenia's people to take hold of their future against "leadership that is dragging them to catastrophe and those using it like puppets", following clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia on Sunday declared martial law and mobilised its male population after the clashes. Turkey has condemned Armenia for what it said were prov
  • Jailed Kurdish politician handed another year for insulting Turkey's Erdogan
    ANKARA, September 22 (Reuters): A former Kurdish parliamentarian jailed in Turkey on terrorism charges has been handed an additional prison term for insulting President Tayyip Erdogan, two of her lawyers said. Sebahat Tuncel was sentenced last week to 11 months and 20 days for calling Erdogan an enemy of Kurds and women in a speech in 2016, comments one of her lawyers defended as legitimate criticism of a political opponent. Tuncel had served in Turkey's parliament
  • Turkey may resume talks with Greece, warns against EU sanctions
    ISTANBUL, September 20 (Reuters): Turkey and Greece could soon resume talks over their contested Mediterranean claims but European Union leaders meeting this week will not help if they threaten sanctions, Turkey's presidential spokesman said on Sunday. The NATO members and neighbours have been locked in a bitter dispute over the extent of their continental shelves in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions flared last month when Turkey sent a vessel to survey for gas and oil in
  • Cyprus says ready for a dialogue with Turkey but not under threats
    ATHENS, September 16 (Reuters): Cyprus is ready to engage in dialogue with Turkey to resolve differences but not under threats, the Mediterranean island's President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday. "Yesterday unfortunately a Turkish NAVTEX to expand illegal drilling by the Yavuz vessel was extended when at the same time a series of initiatives are ongoing that seek an end to Ankara's unlawful actions and de-escalation," he said, after a meeting with
  • Erdogan announces historic Turkish gas find in Black Sea
    ISTANBUL, August 21 (Reuters): Turkey announced its biggest ever natural gas discovery on Friday, a 320 billion cubic metre (11.3 trillion cubic feet) Black Sea field which President Tayyip Erdogan said was part of even bigger reserves and could come onstream as soon as 2023. If the gas can be commercially extracted, the discovery could help Ankara cut its current dependence on imports - from countries such as Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan - for most of its energy needs. "
  • After Hagia Sophia, Turkey's historic Chora church also switched to mosque
    ANKARA, August 21 (Reuters): Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reconverted the historic Chora church, one of Istanbul's most celebrated Byzantine buildings, into a mosque on Friday, a month after opening the famed Hagia Sophia to Muslim worship. The mediaeval Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, built near the ancient city walls of Constantinople, contains 14th century Byzantine mosaics and frescoes showing scenes from biblical stories. They were plastered over after the
  • EU members agree to prepare counter measures against Turkey
    Brussels, August 15 (IANS): Member states of the European Union (EU) have agreed to prepare counter measures in response to Turkey's naval activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Following an urgent meeting convened by the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, the 27 member states on Friday agreed that the recent naval mobilisations by Turkey would "lead to greater antagonism and distrust", reports Xinhua news agency. T
  • Turkey may suspend ties with UAE over Israel deal, Erdogan says
    ISTANBUL, August 14 (Reuters): Turkey is considering suspending diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and withdrawing its ambassador over the Gulf state's accord to normalise ties with Israel, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday. The Turkish foreign ministry said history would never forgive the UAE's "hypocritical behaviour" in agreeing such a deal, which recasts the order of Middle East politics. Under the U.S.-brokered, the first between Israe
  • Turkey approves social media law critics say will silence dissent
    ANKARA, July 29 (Reuters): Turkey adopted a new social media law on Wednesday that critics say will create a "chilling effect" on dissenting voices who have resorted to Twitter and other online platforms as the government tightened its grip on mainstream media. The law was backed by President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party and its nationalist allies to make foreign social media sites more accountable. It requires them to appoint a local representative to address author
  • Greek church bells toll for Hagia Sofia, PM calls Turkey a 'troublemaker'
    ATHENS, July 24 (Reuters): Church bells across Greece tolled in mourning on Friday as the first Islamic prayers in nine decades were held at Hagia Sophia in Turkey, marking the monument's conversion into a mosque. Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan joined huge crowds in Istanbul for prayers at Hagia Sophia, sealing his ambition to restore Muslim worship at the ancient site which most Greeks consider as central to their Orthodox Christian religion. Greek criticism of t
  • Erdogan joins thousands to pray for first time at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia
    ISTANBUL, July 24 (Reuters): Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan joined thousands of worshippers at Hagia Sophia on Friday for the first prayers there since he declared the monument, revered by Christians and Muslims for almost 1,500 years, a mosque once again. Erdogan and his top ministers, wearing white facemasks as a precaution against COVID-19, knelt on blue carpets at the start of a ceremony which marks the return of Muslim worship to the ancient structure. An imam be
  • Prayers at Hagia Sophia will crown decades-long Muslim campaign
    ISTANBUL, July 23 (Reuters): When Yunus Genc prays at Hagia Sophia on Friday it will mark the triumphant culmination of decades-long efforts by Islamist-rooted groups like his to convert the ancient monument, revered by both Christians and Muslims, to a mosque. Genc's Anatolian Youth Association (AGD) held protests and organised prayers outside the 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia, while another group waged a series of failed legal campaigns until a top Turkish court last month final
  • Erdogan says Turkey will remain in Syria 'until Syrian people are free'
    ANKARA, July 21 (Reuters): President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkish forces, which have carried out several incursions into northern Syria since 2016, would remain in the country until Syrians can live in freedom and safety. "Nowadays they are holding an election, a so-called election," Erdogan said of a parliamentary election on Sunday in Syria's government-controlled regions, after nearly a decade of civil war. "Until the Syrian people are free,
  • Turkey's Erdogan says Egypt's actions in Libya are illegal
    ISTANBUL, July 17 (Reuters): Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan denounced Egypt and the United Arab Emirates on Friday for supporting forces based in eastern Libya, after Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Libyan tribesmen who called for Cairo to intervene in the civil war.   Turkey has been providing military aid to the Tripoli-based government in the Libya conflict, while Egypt, the UAE and Russia have backed its foes in a rival administration based in the e
  • Lives will be lost as Syria aid access cut, aid agencies warn
    BEIRUT, July 12 (Reuters): A U.N. Security Council resolution that leaves only one of two border crossings open for aid deliveries from Turkey into rebel-held northwestern Syria will cost lives and intensify the suffering of 1.3 million people living there, aid agencies said.   Western states had pressed for aid access to continue through two crossings at the Turkish border, but Russia, President Bashar al-Assad's main ally in his war against, and China vetoed a las
  • Pope 'very pained' by decision to turn Istanbul's Hagia Sophia museum into mosque
    VATICAN CITY, July 12 (Reuters): Pope Francis said on Sunday he was hurt by Turkey's decision to make Istanbul's Hagia Sophia museum a mosque, the latest religious leader to condemn the move.   "My thoughts go to Istanbul. I think of Santa Sophia and I am very pained," he said during his weekly blessing in St. Peter's Square.   Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said the first prayers would be held in Hagia Sophia on July 24, after declarin
  • Turkey warns it will respond if EU takes fresh measures against it
    ANKARA, July 6 (Reuters): Turkey will respond with its own steps if the European Union imposes further sanctions on Ankara, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday after meeting the EU's top diplomat.   France's foreign minister said last week EU ministers would discuss Turkey on July 13 and said new sanctions on Ankara could be considered in addition to steps taken over Turkey's drilling in the Cyprus economic zone.   "If the EU tak
  • 50 injured in fireworks factory explosion in Turkey
    ANKARA, JULY 3 (IANS): At least 50 people were injured in an explosion at a fireworks factory in Turkey's northwestern province of Sakarya on Friday.   Citing a statement of Sakarya Governor Cetin Oktay Kaldirim, the state-run TRT broadcaster said 50 people have so far been rushed to the nearby hospitals.   Kaldirim stated that there were 172 people inside the factory, which contained 110 tons of explosive material.   Over 60 ambulances and two heli