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US genocide vote angers Turks; ambassador recalled

Every year around this time attempts are made in Washington to recognize the mass killings of Armenians during and after WWI by forces of the Ottoman Empire as genocide. And every year around this time Turks get a little edgy, throwing aside previous disagreements and doing their best to defend themselves against the dark stain of the g-word.

US says "genocide" and Turkey revolts

ISTANBUL, Turkey — The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs met yesterday to answer the question of whether or not the mass killings of Armenians during and after the first world war by forces of the Ottoman Empire was genocide. After more than three hours of debate, they had their answer. The approval of the resolution, which calls on President Barack Obama to “characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide”, has set off waves of unrest in Turkey, who immediately recalled their ambassador in Washington.

Turkey follows drama of alleged coup plot

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Turks may love their dizilar, the interminable serials that dominate television, but none are as compelling as the real-life drama playing out in courtrooms, army barracks and government offices nationwide. Consecutive revelations of buried weapons caches and documents purporting to be blueprints for an anti-government coup have held this country spellbound since 2007.

Erdogan says "Grazie!"

Italian police arrested 11 people Friday on suspicion of recruiting members of the Kurdish community in Europe to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, officials said. The arrests follow a lengthy investigation into allegations that members of the militant, separatist movement the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, were recruiting ethnic Kurds at camps in Italy and France. From Today’s Zaman’s report about the operation:

Turkey's female unemployment problem

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Leaning against the sink in her kitchen, the midday sun hits Medine Gezer’s face at an angle, aging her beyond her 34 years. The shrieks of her three children drift in from another room, mixing with the smell of cooked rice and cumin.

Cyprus: Could water shortage bring peace?

GECITKOY, Northern Cyprus — When Cyprus lay dry and parched with drought in 2008, Senol Akmehmet had to buy water shipped in by truck to keep his goats and sheep alive. He couldn’t plant any crops. The local reservoir, called Gecitkoy like Akmehmet’s village, dried up and disappeared.

Turkey troubled by Kurds

ISTANBUL, Turkey — A helicopter circled over Istanbul’s Tarlabashi neighborhood as rows of riot police swept through its winding lanes, trooping under the sagging century old apartment facades. Away from the din of traffic, men could be heard shouting along the narrow lanes. The massive police action was to suppress a demonstration by Turkey’s voluble Kurdish minority marking the anniversary of the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the armed Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party (PKK).

Opinion: Greek debt crisis a hazard for EU

WASHINGTON — The Greek membership of the eurozone has never been easy. While other EU countries either adopted the euro or chose not to do so, Greece was the only EU country that wanted to join the common currency area at the outset, but could not. The Greeks were keen to jettison the drachma because of their past experience with inflation and devaluation. Giving monetary authority to the European Central Bank would eliminate those two problems.

Turkey detains 120 Al Qaeda suspects

Wire services are buzzing this morning with news that Turkish police arrested 120 alleged Al Qaeda members during simultaneous predawn raids in 16 provinces. Al Qaeda has occasionally attacked foreign targets in Turkey — the 2003 bombings in Istanbul that targeted two synagogues, the British Consulate and a bank, and the 2008 U.S. consulate attack — and police occasionally round up small cells. Saturday's raid, however, is unusually large. Unnamed security sources told the BBC police seized weapons, fake identity cards and "camouflage clothing."

Istanbul celebrates being a European cultural capital

ISTANBUL, Turkey — The only city in the world spanning two continents and host to three empires — ancient Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman — celebrated becoming one of three European Capitals of Culture in 2010.
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