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World - Turkey`s evacuation of Syrian tomb `no retreat`


Turkey`s decision to evacuate an historic tomb and the soldiers guarding it from Syrian territory was not a retreat, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday, rejecting opposition claims Ankara had surrendered the area to jihadists. Erdogan indicated the operation overnight Saturday was motivated by concerns the tomb and its Turkish guards could have come under attack by Islamic State (IS) militants who control the area. `This is certainly not a retreat,` he said in televised comments in Ankara. The opposition has lambasted the operation to remove the remains of Suleyman Shah -- a 13th century figure revered by Turks -- as a retreat that meekly handed over the area to IS.


Monday, February 23, 2015  19:14

Yahoo

World - Turkey`s Erdogan says relocation of tomb in Syria not a retreat


By Tulay Karadeniz ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey`s military incursion into Syria to relocate a tomb surrounded by Islamic State militants and evacuate the soldiers guarding it was a temporary move to safeguard their lives and not a retreat, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday. The action, which involved tanks, drones and reconnaissance planes as well as several hundred ground troops, was the first of its kind by the Turkish army into Syria since the start of the civil war there nearly four years ago. `The Suleyman Shah tomb operation is not a retreat, it is a temporary move in order not to risk soldiers` lives,` Erdogan said in a speech in the capital Ankara. `The game of those who tried to use the tomb and our soldiers to blackmail Turkey has been disrupted,` he said.


Monday, February 23, 2015  15:55

Yahoo

World - Turkey to harmonize long-range missile system with NATO system - spokesman


ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will make its planned new long-range missile system harmonious with the NATO system, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told a news conference on Monday in comments apparently at odds with those of the country`s defense minister. Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz said last Thursday Ankara did not plan to integrate the new defense system with NATO infrastructure. Officials at the time said a $3.4 billion deal with China was still under consideration. NATO member Turkey chose China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp as a preferred bidder in 2013, prompting U.S. ...


Monday, February 23, 2015  12:10

Yahoo

World - Turkish military enters Syria to evacuate soldiers, relocate tomb


By Orhan Coskun ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish forces swept into Syria overnight to rescue about 40 soldiers who had been surrounded for months by Islamic State militants while guarding the tomb of a revered Turkish figure. The operation, which involved tanks, drones, reconnaissance planes as well as several hundred ground troops, was the first such incursion by Turkish troops into Syria since the start of the civil war there nearly four years ago. The 38 soldiers who had been guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, were brought safely home. The tomb, which is on a site within Syria that Ankara considers sovereign territory, was relocated.


Sunday, February 22, 2015  10:01

Yahoo

World - Turkish tanks enter Syria to evacuate soldiers guarding tomb


By Orhan Coskun ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish tanks backed by drones and reconnaissance planes entered Syria overnight to evacuate several dozen Turkish soldiers guarding a tomb considered sovereign territory by Ankara and surrounded by Islamic State insurgents. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said around 100 military vehicles, including 39 tanks, were involved and that the 38 soldiers guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, had been brought safely home. The military said there had been no clashes during the operation, the first such ground incursion by Turkish troops into Syria, but that one soldier had been killed in an accident.


Sunday, February 22, 2015  07:36

Yahoo

World - Turkey, U.S. sign deal to train, equip Syrian opposition, official says


By Tulay Karadeniz and David Alexander ANKARA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Turkey signed an agreement on Thursday to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters, and Ankara will provide an equal number of trainers to work alongside their American military counterparts, a U.S. official said. The deal with Turkey formalized plans for one of four known sites to be used in a broader program to train Syrian rebels opposed to Islamic State militants. A deal for a facility in Jordan is imminent and locations in Saudi Arabia and Qatar could be ready in a few months, the U.S. official said. The effort to train and equip Syrian moderates to fight Islamic State rebels began to pick up steam after months of planning.


Friday, February 20, 2015  00:03

Yahoo

World - Turkey eyes deal with China on missile defense despite NATO concern


By Tulay Karadeniz ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey`s defense minister said on Thursday the country does not plan to integrate a new missile defense system with NATO infrastructure and officials said a $3.4 billion deal with China was still under consideration. NATO member Turkey chose China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp as a preferred bidder in 2013, prompting U.S. and Western concern about security and the compatibility of the weaponry with NATO systems. Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, in a written response to a parliamentary question, indicated Ankara planned to go ahead with the Chinese system, saying the evaluation of bids had been completed and no new offers received.


Thursday, February 19, 2015  20:43

Yahoo

World - Turkey says planned Chinese missile defense won`t be NATO integrated


ANKARA (Reuters) - China made the best bid in a tender to develop Turkey`s planned long-range missile defense system, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said, adding that Ankara would use the system without integrating it with NATO`s. According to his written response to a parliamentary question published on Thursday, Yilmaz said the work in assessing bids had been completed and no new bids had been received. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Daren Butler; editing by David Dolan)


Thursday, February 19, 2015  11:30

Yahoo

World - U.S., Turkey soon to sign Syrian opposition train-and-equip deal


ANKARA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Turkey have reached a tentative agreement to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters and expect to sign the pact soon, U.S. and Turkish officials said on Tuesday with Ankara predicting a signing in days. The U.S. military has said it is planning to send more than 400 troops, including special operations forces, to train Syrian moderates at sites outside Syria as part of the fight against the Islamic State. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as Turkey, have publicly offered to host training sites. Turkey hopes the training will also bolster the weakened and divided Syrian opposition in their struggle against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015  20:59

Yahoo

World - Turkey`s Davutoglu says Kurdish peace process at critical stage


ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday the Kurdish peace process was at a critical stage and that Ankara had the right to expect a declaration from the militants that they had given up armed struggle. He was speaking at a news conference in Pakistan, broadcast live on Turkish television, after the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) demanded concrete steps from Ankara to advance the process, accusing the ruling AK Party of stalling and warning that the negotiations could break down. (Writing by Daren Butler; editing by David Dolan)


Tuesday, February 17, 2015  16:06

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