Turkey

  • 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
  • Turkish court weighs bid to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque
    ANKARA, July 2 (Reuters): A Turkish court on Thursday heard a case aimed at converting the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul back into a mosque and will announce its verdict within 15 days, a lawyer said, on an issue which has drawn international expressions of concern.   President Tayyip Erdogan has proposed restoring the mosque status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, a building at the heart of both the Christian Byzantine and Muslim Ottoman empires and today one of Tu
  • Russia's Putin urges Turkey, Iran to help promote dialogue in Syria
    MOSCOW, July 1 (Reuters): Russian President Vladimir Putin told his counterparts from Turkey and Iran on Wednesday that there was a need for peaceful dialogue between the opposing forces in Syria's civil war.   Putin also told Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan and Iran's Hassan Rouhani in a televised video conference that hot spots of terrorism still remain in Syria's Idlib and other regions.   "An inclusive inter-Syrian dialogue should be actively
  • Turkey dismisses Egyptian proposal for Libya ceasefire - Hurriyet
    ANKARA, June 10 (Reuters): Turkey on Wednesday dismissed Egypt's proposal for a ceasefire in Libya, saying the plan aimed to save Khalifa Haftar after the collapse of his offensive to control the capital Tripoli, Hurriyet newspaper reported.   Turkey supports Fayez al Serraj's internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), whose forces have in recent weeks repelled a 14-month assault on Tripoli by Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), backed