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U.N. Urges Rival Cypriot Leaders to Seize 'Unique Opportunity'

U.N. envoy Espen Barth Eide on Tuesday urged the rival leaders of Cyprus to finally seize a "unique opportunity" to broker a peace deal after four decades of division on the island.

"I am very encouraged by the climate that has been created over the last weeks and months here and I think this is an opportunity that Cypriots must take," Eide told reporters.

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Turkey Arrests 24 May Day Protesters on 'Terror' Charges

Turkish authorities on Tuesday formally arrested and charged with "terrorism" two dozen people detained during May Day demonstrations in Istanbul, state media said. 

According to official figures, police on May Day detained 366 people in various parts of the city following clashes.

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U.S. Envoy Calls on Turkey to Safeguard Freedoms

The top U.S. diplomat to Turkey on Monday called for the protection of fundamental freedoms, no matter whether the NATO ally is ruled by a presidential or parliamentary system.

Ambassador John Bass said it was up to the Turkish people to decide which system they preferred, amid a debate over how the country should be governed ahead of a key parliamentary vote in June.

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Syria Army Tightens Siege of Rebel Bastion near Damascus

Syria's army cut the last main supply route for a rebel bastion east of Damascus Sunday, further tightening a crippling siege on the area, a monitor and state media said. 

"The regime has cut off the last main road for rebels leading out of Eastern Ghouta," the main opposition stronghold in Damascus province, said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami Abdel Rahman. 

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Turkey Detains Two Judges over Release Order

Turkey on Friday was holding in detention two judges who issued a controversial release order that would have allowed the liberation from custody of dozens of opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the official Anatolia news agency reported.

Judges Metin Ozcelik and Mustafa Baser at the weekend issued an order to release the 74 former police and the head of the Samanyolu TV channel Hidayet Karaca from police custody.

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'We're All Blonde': U.S. Envoy Hits Back at Ankara Mayor Sexist Slur

The U.S. ambassador to Turkey on Friday hit back at sexist remarks by Ankara's maverick mayor to the U.S. State Department spokeswoman by  posting a picture of himself with blond hair.

Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek, a close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had on Wednesday fired off an extraordinary diatribe on Twitter over the Baltimore rioting, telling the U.S. State Department acting spokeswoman Marie Harf to "come on blonde answer now."

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Police Fire Tear Gas to Disperse Turkey May Day Protesters

Turkish police on Friday used water cannon and tear gas to disperse May Day protesters in Istanbul as tens of thousands of labor activists turned out worldwide to defend their rights at a time of austerity.

Turkish police had blocked all vehicle access and cut public transport to prevent protests on Taksim Square in the center of Istanbul, the traditional focus for protests in the country's largest city.

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Turkey Orders Arrest of Judges Who Sought Release of Erdogan Foes

Turkish authorities on Thursday issued arrest warrants for two judges in a legal standoff over an order to release 75 suspects detained on suspicion of plotting to overthrow Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reports said.

The judges at the weekend issued an order to release the 74 former police and the head of the Samanyolu TV channel Hidayet Karaca from police custody.

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Tense Turkey Braces for May 1 Clashes

Turkey braced Thursday for a tense Labor Day, with the authorities banning May 1 demonstrations on the iconic Taksim Square in Istanbul and the prime minister warning any disorder would not be tolerated.

Labor Day has seen recurring clashes in the last years between the security forces and leftist protesters.

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Ankara Mayor in Sexist Diatribe against U.S. Official

The maverick mayor of Ankara, a close ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Wednesday fired off an extraordinary anti-U.S. diatribe on Twitter over the Baltimore rioting, telling the U.S. State Department spokeswoman to "come on blonde answer now."

"Come on blonde, answer now!" Melih Gokcek wrote in English as well as Turkish, sharing an image from the riots in Baltimore with a picture of U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.

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