August 5th, 2013
05:55 AM ET

Verdict due in Turkey's Ergenekon case

A verdict is expected Monday in one of Turkey's most lengthy and polarizing court cases.

Prosecutors accuse hundreds of suspects of being part of a covert ultranationalist organization that wants to overthrow the government and sow unrest.

They allege that the group created dozens of websites disseminating propaganda aimed at bringing down the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Filed under: Turkey • World
June 15th, 2013
05:53 PM ET

Turkish forces clear Istanbul park

Turkish riot police used water cannons and tear gas Saturday to clear protesters camped out in an Istanbul park that has become ground zero in anti-government demonstrations targeting the policies of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
At least 29 people were injured in clashes as police took Taksim Square and adjacent Gezi Park, Istanbul Gov. Huseyin Avni Mutlu said in remarks carried on Turkish television stations.
Police pushed protesters onto side streets, where many - with their faces covered with masks because of tear gas and smoke - refused to leave and appeared to be reorganizing.
The move came shortly after police warned demonstrators who have occupied Istanbul's last remaining green space for more than two weeks to depart voluntarily or face being ejected.

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Filed under: Turkey • World
June 4th, 2013
07:25 AM ET

Unions join forces with Turkish protesters

Trade unions claiming 240,000 members are throwing their weight behind anti-government demonstrations across Turkey.

The KESK confederation of public sector workers was calling a two-day strike starting Tuesday to protest what it called the "fascism" of the governing party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has become one of the focal points of demonstrators' anger.

They have united demonstrators from across the political spectrum against a common foe: security forces who unleashed tear gas and water cannons on them in response to what had been largely peaceful protests against Erdogan's government.

The Turkish Medical Association claimed that at least 3,195 people had been injured in clashes Sunday and Monday. Only 26 of them were in serious or critical condition, it said.

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Filed under: Turkey
March 22nd, 2013
02:00 PM ET

Israel apologizes to Turkey over flotilla raid

[Updated at 2 p.m. ET] Israel has amended its statement on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apology to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan over the 2010 Israeli commando attack that killed nine people on a Gaza-bound flotilla. The new statement removes a previous mention of Netanyahu and Erdogan agreeing to normalize relations between the two countries and dispatch ambassadors.

[Updated at 12:46 p.m. ET] Israel and Turkey also have decided to normalize their fractured diplomatic ties, agreeing to return ambassadors to their posts, the office of Israel's prime minister said Friday in a statement confirming the flotilla raid apology.

[Posted at 11:28 a.m. ET] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan on Friday to apologize for an Israeli commando raid in 2010 on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed eight Turks, two U.S. senior administration officials told reporters traveling with President Barack Obama in the Middle East.

Netanyahu made the call during an airport meeting with Obama before the U.S. president departed Israel after his first visit to the Jewish state since taking office in 2009.

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Filed under: Israel • Turkey
Suspect captured in Turkey in U.S. woman's death
March 17th, 2013
09:23 AM ET

Suspect captured in Turkey in U.S. woman's death

Turkish police on Sunday arrested a man suspected of killing American tourist Sarai Sierra, whose body was found last month, according to local authorities.

The suspect, who was identified in late February as "Ziya T.," was captured in the southern province of Hatay, where he has family, a provincial statement said.

Sierra, a mother and amateur photographer from Staten Island, New York, went missing January 22 while on a solo trip. Her body was found February 2 near ancient stone walls in Istanbul, according to the semi-official Anatolian news agency.

Police suspect the 33-year-old was killed at a different location from where she was found. Sierra went to Turkey on January 7 and was due to return home January 22.

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Filed under: New York • Turkey
March 13th, 2013
07:43 AM ET

Report: Militants release Turkish hostages

Kurdish militants have released eight Turkish civil servants who were kidnapped in eastern Turkey and held hostage in northern Iraq, according to Turkey's semi-official Anadolu news agency.

The Kurdish separatist group PKK had kidnapped the eight in various eastern Turkish provinces on different dates, Anadolu reported.

Adil Kurt, a member of Turkey's Parliament, said Wednesday that the eight released hostages were in a convoy heading from Iraq to the Turkish border and were expected to arrive in Turkey Wednesday afternoon.

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Filed under: Iraq • Turkey
March 1st, 2013
06:30 AM ET

Kerry to address Turkish PM Zionism remark

A statement by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has caught the attention of the U.S. State Department.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry plans to express his strong concerns on Friday about the Turkish prime minister's remarks equating Zionism with crimes against humanity, a senior State Department official said.

"Obviously we strongly disagree with that notion," the official said, calling the statement "offensive and wrong." He was referring to Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks Wednesday at a forum in Vienna, Austria. This comes as the once-extensive cooperation between Turkey and Israel on trade and tourism and even military issues has broken down.

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Report: Suspect in U.S. tourist's death ID'd
Sarai Sierra traveled alone from New York to Istanbul on January 7 to take photographs.
February 21st, 2013
06:42 PM ET

Report: Suspect in U.S. tourist's death ID'd

Turkish police have identified and are looking for a man suspected of killing American tourist Sarai Sierra, whose body was found earlier this month, CNN affiliate CNN Turk reported Thursday.

Police are looking for the suspect, identified only as "Ziya T," in the southern province of Hatay, where his family lives, CNN Turk reported.

Sierra, of New York, traveled alone to Istanbul on January 7. She was reported missing after she did not arrive on a return flight January 22, and Turkish police found her body near ancient stone walls in Istanbul's Sarayburnu district this month.

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Filed under: Crime • Travel • Turkey
Body of missing NY mother found in Turkey
Sarai Sierra's family raised alarms after the 33-year-old mother of two didn't return to New York on January 22, as expected.
February 2nd, 2013
09:21 PM ET

Body of missing NY mother found in Turkey

The family of an American woman who went missing in Istanbul nearly two weeks ago are in mourning after learning that Turkish police found her body Saturday.

Steven Sierra wept during a phone call with CNN, as he waited in Istanbul to go with police to identify the body of his wife, Sarai Sierra.

Turkish police found the New York woman's body near ancient stone walls in Istanbul's Sarayburnu district, the semi-official Anatolian Agency reported. Police suspected she had been killed at another location.

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Filed under: New York • Turkey
Suicide bomber kills one outside U.S. Embassy in Turkey
February 1st, 2013
09:22 AM ET

Suicide bomber kills one outside U.S. Embassy in Turkey

  • At least 1 killed, 2 hurt in blast near U.S. Embassy in Ankara
  • Police say a suicide bomber blew himself up in street

[Updated at 11:59 a.m. ET] Istanbul police identify the bomber as Ecevit Shanli, a member of DHKP-C, a Marxist-Leninist terror group.

[Updated at 9:19 a.m. ET] U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland issues a statement on the attack: "We can confirm a terrorist blast at a checkpoint on the perimeter of our embassy compound in Ankara, Turkey, at 1:13 p.m. local time. We are working closely with the Turkish national police to make a full assessment of the damage and the casualties, and to begin an investigation. We will share more information as it becomes available."

[Updated at 8:10 a.m. ET] The person killed in the bombing outside the U.S. embassy is a Turkish embassy guard, a senior U.S. official tells CNN. Two other people were wounded and neither is American, the official said.

[Updated at 7:38 a.m. ET] The blast happened shortly after 1 p.m. local time. The U.S. Embassy would normally be open for business at that hour, CNN's Ivan Watson reports.

[Updated at 7:31 a.m. ET] Video from the scene shows ambulances in the streets near the embassy. Security forces have closed off the area. U.S. officials have been unable to confirm details of the attack.

[Updated at 7:20 a.m. ET] Images from CNN sister network CNN Turk show a hole in a wall of a building across the street from the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

[Updated at 7:05 a.m. ET] One person was killed and two others were wounded by a suicide bomber who blew himself up outside the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, according to Ankara police.

[Posted at 6:45 a.m. ET] CNN is working to confirm reports of an explosion near the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Turkey's semi-official news agency Anadolu is reporting the blast. Ambulances arrived to pick up injured people, the report said.

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Filed under: Turkey • World
January 31st, 2013
04:43 AM ET

New York woman goes missing in Istanbul on photography trip

Sarai Sierra followed her passion to Istanbul - a budding photographer lured by the possibilities the picturesque, ancient city has to offer.

But the day before she was supposed to fly back home, the 33-year-old mother of two went missing.

Sierra had taken up photography last year, posting her work to the photo sharing app Instagram and quickly amassing 3,000 followers.

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Filed under: Crime • New York • Turkey • U.S. • World • World Update
January 21st, 2013
01:00 PM ET

French police arrest suspect in killing of Kurdish activists

Police in France have arrested a man in connection with the killing of three Kurdish activists in Paris this month, prosecutors said Monday.

The suspect, Omer Guney, is a 30-year-old Turkish national who, prosecutors said, has been a member of the Kurdish nationalist PKK for two years - the same group co-founded by one of the victims.

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Filed under: France • Justice • Turkey • World
December 14th, 2012
10:05 AM ET

Germany to join U.S. in deploying Patriot missiles to Turkey

The German parliament approved Friday the deployment of German Patriot anti-aircraft missiles to Turkey, with 461 Bundestag deputies voting in favor of the deployment, 86 against and eight abstentions.

The decision followed an earlier announcement that the United States intends to deploy 400 troops and two Patriot air-defense missile batteries to Turkey in the coming weeks to defend against potential threats from Syria.

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Filed under: Germany • Syria • Turkey • World
December 14th, 2012
06:21 AM ET

United States sending troops and Patriot missiles to Turkey

The United States is to deploy 400 troops and two Patriot air-defense missile batteries to Turkey in the coming weeks to defend against potential threats from Syria, defense officials said Friday.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed the order en route to Turkey, where he is visiting Incirlik Air Base, Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters.

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Filed under: Syria • Turkey • World
November 21st, 2012
10:37 AM ET

Turkey requests NATO missile deployment

Turkey has requested that NATO deploy Patriot missiles following cross-border violence with Syria, NATO said Wednesday, adding that it would "discuss Turkey's request without delay."

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Filed under: NATO • Syria • Turkey
November 4th, 2012
12:41 PM ET

Child killed in blast near Turkish wedding

People were celebrating a wedding when a car bomb went off nearby Sunday, leaving an 11-year-old child dead, in the Turkish town of Semdinli.

Another 18 people were wounded in the attack in Hakkari Province, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

A car exploded as an armored police vehicle was passing by, according to the semi-official Anadolu news agency.

"Because this despicable attack occurred near an area with a wedding unfortunately there were civilian casualties," said Erdogan.

The injured were taken to nearby hospitals.

The attack in Turkey's Hakkari Province also wounded 18 people, officials said.

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Filed under: Turkey • World
October 3rd, 2012
12:47 PM ET

Shell kills 5 in Turkey border town

At least five people were killed and a dozen injured when a shell landed on a house in the Turkish town of Akcakale, near the Syrian border, a local mayor and the semi-official Anadolu news agency said Wednesday.

The artillery shell was fired from the Syrian district of Tel Abayad, according to Anadolu. However, it is not yet clear what military force or group launched it.

The incident may worsen already tense relations between Turkey and neighboring Syria, which is wracked by an 18-month-long conflict.

Musa Ozer, who lives next to the house where the artillery shell landed, was crying as he spoke on the phone with CNN.

"The bomb fell on us. My head's really not in the right place right now," he said. "My uncle was injured and his wife died. What am I to make of this?"

Local neighborhood mayor Salih Aydogdu said those killed by the shell were three children, their mother and a neighbor.

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Filed under: Syria • Turkey • World
High-ranking general defects from Syrian military
Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlas, right in an undated photo with Bashar al-Assad, has been a key member of the Syrian president's regime.
July 6th, 2012
05:19 AM ET

High-ranking general defects from Syrian military

[Updated at 9:22 a.m. ET] Manaf Tlas, a Sunni general in Syria's elite Republican Guards, has defected, a Western diplomat said Friday, a stunning blow to the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Tlas, the son of a former Syrian defense minister and cousin of a first lieutenant in al-Assad's army, is possibly the most senior Sunni in a power structure dominated by the Alawite minority.

"He's an inside confidant of Assad. So it counts that even an insider thinks it's time to go," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official was not authorized to speak to the media.

Syria has been engulfed in nearly 16 months of unrest. Thousands have died as Syrian government assaults against protesters led to a nationwide uprising.

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July 5th, 2012
08:17 AM ET

Al-Assad: Syria protests can't compare to Egypt, Tunisia

The Syrian president says his country's opposition movement has failed to duplicate the kinds of mass protests that unfolded in other Arab nations.

"They wanted to bring people out into the streets in large numbers just like in Egypt and Tunisia," President Bashar al-Assad said in the latest installment of an interview published Thursday in the Turkish newspaper, Cumhuriyet.

"However they were not successful."

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Filed under: Syria • Turkey
Syrian, Turkey blunt over plane incident
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, pictured here on June 3, 2012, lambasted the Turkish Prime Minister for interfering in Syrian internal politics.
July 4th, 2012
12:03 PM ET

Syrian, Turkey blunt over plane incident

Syria and Turkey leveled sharp criticism at one another Wednesday, a spurt of angry rhetoric in the aftermath of Syria's shootdown of a Turkish jet last month.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, speaking in an interview published in the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet Wednesday, lambasted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for interfering in Syrian internal politics. And Turkey's foreign minister disputed some of al-Assad's assertions Tuesday about the downing of the jet.

Syria's shootdown of an F-4 Turkish Phantom jet intensified the growing animosity between the two countries, whose once-close relationship has eroded in the past 16 months over the al-Assad regime's fierce crackdown against opposition forces.

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