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Turkey’s LGBT groups say government turns a blind eye to hate-driven murders

Gay rights groups in Turkey voiced dismay Friday that proposed legislation fails to make it a hate crime to target people because of their sexual orientation. “The definition of hate crime must immediately be broadened. The government has to guarantee our right to live,” Ebru Kiranci, an official from Istanbul’s…

Egypt, Syria throw out each other’s diplomats

Egypt and Turkey dismissed each other’s ambassadors and downgraded their diplomatic relations on Saturday after months of tensions over the removal of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. Egypt’s foreign Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdelatty said he had asked Turkish ambassador Avni Botsali to leave the country because Turkey was “attempting to influence…

Gay Turkish Muslims torn between religion and sexuality

“When I was a child, I was told that homosexuals would burn in hell,” said Ertugrul, a Muslim fighting for greater freedom for gays in a country where homosexuality remains taboo. Ertugrul, who did not want to give his last name, is president of the group Muslims and Gays, which…

Turkish court jails former military chief for life over alleged ‘plot’ to overthrow government

By Ayla Jean Yackley and Ceyda Caglayan SILIVRI, Turkey (Reuters) – A Turkish court on Monday sentenced a former military chief to life in prison and dozens of others including opposition members of parliament to long terms for plotting against the government, in a trial that has exposed deep divisions…

Seventy-one Syrian army officers defect to Turkey

ANKARA (Reuters) – Seventy-one officers, including six generals, have defected from the Syrian army to Turkey, a Turkish official said on Saturday, the biggest single mass desertion of senior soldiers from President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces in months. It was not immediately clear why the group had deserted. Just hours…

Miltary’s absence from Turkish protests seen as a positive sign for democracy

The anti-government demos sweeping Turkey have sent thousands of angry protesters into the streets, facing off against tear-gas firing riot police. It’s the worst unrest to rock Turkey in years, but the country’s once all-powerful army is nowhere to be seen. In fact, it marks the first time in Turkey’s…

Atheist virtuoso pianist Fazil Say gets 10-month suspended sentence for Tweets insulting some Muslims

An Istanbul court on Monday slapped world-renowned pianist Fazil Say with a 10-month suspended jail term for blasphemy in what the musician has said was a political case instigated by Turkey’s ruling party. The court handed down the sentence after finding Say guilty of “insulting religious values of a part…

CIA helping boost arms shipments to Syria rebels: NYT

Arab nations and Turkey, helped by the CIA, have dramatically increased military aid to Syrian rebels in recent months, The New York Times reported Monday. The US Central Intelligence Agency was helping their efforts, the newspaper added, citing air traffic data and interviews with unnamed officials and the rebel commanders.…

Nearly 700 Syrians ‘flee to Turkey in one day’

Nearly 700 Syrian refugees poured into Turkey in 24 hours, bringing to more than 24,000 the total who have sought safety in the neighbouring country, a Turkish official said Saturday. More than 9,000 people have died in Syria in more than a year of unrest, according to UN figures, as…

Top French court strikes down Armenian genocide law

PARIS — France’s top court ruled Tuesday that a law backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy to punish denial of the Armenian genocide was unconstitutional as it infringed on freedom of expression. Turkey welcomed the ruling — but Sarkozy, whose right-wing party had put forward the bill, swiftly vowed to draft…

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