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Istanbul marks Greek Orthodox holiday

Turkey has own Santa movie

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Everyone knows about the big white beard, the red suit and the reindeer. They write to Mr. Claus at the North Pole, and leave cookies out for him before going to bed on Christmas Eve. What most people don’t know is that the legend of Father Christmas comes from what is now Turkey, a country that is 99 percent Muslim. Santa is now a global phenomenon, but his story has humble roots: a 4th century archbishop named Nicholas, who lived in a small farming community on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast.

Dancers honor poet with a whirl

ISTANBUL, Turkey — He died in 1273, but his poetry and message of tolerance have made Rumi the most celebrated mystical poet in the Islamic world, from the Balkans to Bengal. This icon of Islamic civilization (or of Afghan, Iranian or Turkish national heritage) also holds global sway.

Turkey's high court nixes pro-Kurd party, sparks turbulence

ISTANBUL, Turkey — The unanimous decision by Turkey’s high court to ban the country’s largest pro-Kurdish party over alleged terrorist links has sent the country into a state of political uncertainty. While not unexpected, the move has sparked turbulence in the mainly Kurdish southeast and threatens to jeopardize the efforts by the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) to resolve the bloody, 25-year conflict with the Kurds through peaceful means.

Opinion: Explaining Turkey’s high-risk activism

WASHINGTON — On Monday, Prime Minister Recip Erdogan of Turkey arrived in Washington trailing a list of actions designed to achieve “zero problems” with his country’s neighbors. Considering how many immediate neighbors there are (seven) and who they are (e.g. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia) this is a tall order. Ankara’s activism has raised the stakes in its own neighborhood and eyebrows in the United States.

Erdogan and Obama: much to discuss

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Whether it's a topic of discussion or not, Iran will likely be the 300-pound gorilla in the room when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday.

And then Allah created man

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Islam's answer to a TV evangelist, Adnan Oktar, is at it again. A few years ago, the controversial sect leader mailed thousands of copies of the “Atlas of Creation” — a lavish, 800-page book that attempts to disprove evolution — to doctors and educators around the world. Now, in addition to his local-access TV talk show in Turkey, he’s launched a media blitz to counter the buzz surrounding the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species.”

US vies for Turkey missile defense contract

ISTANBUL, Turkey — American, Russian and Chinese companies vying to sell Turkey high-altitude anti-missile air defense systems will have to submit their best offers by Tuesday if they want a shot at this billion-dollar contract. The program — Turkey’s first long-range missile defense system — is meant to protect the country from potential ground-to-ground ballistic missile strikes, but the controversial purchase is raising questions about whom Ankara sees as a threat.

Feast of Sacrifice meets the modern age.

ISTANBUL, Turkey — At the Piyalepasa animal bazaar there is a sense of anticipation. Buyers carefully make their way through crowds of people and livestock, the ground sodden with blood. Millions of sheep and cattle were slaughtered in Turkey over this past long weekend of Eid al-Adha — in Turkish, Kurban Bayrami. Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, is a three-day festival that is celebrated after the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.

Opinion: Rejection of Turkey wouldn't be Europe's finest hour

BOSTON — When the European Union selected Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy to be its first, full time president last week the reaction in many quarters was that “this was not Europe’s finest hour,” as the Financial Times put it. Nothing against van Rompuy, mind you, but after so many “years of tortured labor, the mountain brought forth a mouse.”
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