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Turkish Minister Turns Ire on 'Pole-Dancing Women'

A senior Turkish minister who caused an outcry by suggesting women should not laugh loudly in public waded into a new controversy on Wednesday by attacking women who he said could not resist pole dancing.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, a co-founder of the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), has strongly criticized in recent days what he sees as a decline of moral standards in Turkey.

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Turkey Divided over Erdogan ahead of Elections

The Turkish people are deeply divided over Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's leadership even though he is the hot favorite to win next month's presidential elections, a new poll found Wednesday.

Turkey will for the first time vote directly for its next president on August 10, with Erdogan looking set to continue more than a decade of domination over the country straddling Europe and Asia.

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Turkey's Erdogan 'Glad' to Return Jewish Award

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be "glad" to return an award given to him in 2004 by an American Jewish group, Turkey's embassy in the U.S. said Tuesday, amid a growing controversy over the premier's anti-Israel remarks.

The American Jewish Congress had given Erdogan the Profile of Courage award in recognition of his efforts to seek peace in the Middle East but now wants the decoration to be returned after his repeated verbal assaults against Israel over the Gaza conflict.

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Don't Laugh Loudly, Turkish Deputy PM Tells Women

One of the most senior members of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government sparked an outcry on Tuesday after declaring that women should not laugh loudly in public.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, one of the co-founders of the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), made the comment while lamenting the moral decline of modern society.

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Three Killed in Istanbul Bus Inferno

Three people were killed Sunday and several were injured when a public bus in Istanbul burst into flames after crashing into the side of the road, Turkish television reported.

The bus was reduced to a burnt-out shell after the accident, which happened in the district of Kavacik on the Asian side of Istanbul, pictures broadcast by NTV television showed.

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Egypt again Warns Turkey to Stop Criticizing Sisi

Egypt warned Ankara Saturday of "further action" as it protested for the second time in a week at the Turkish premier criticizing its president and Cairo's handling of the Gaza conflict.

Ties have been strained since both withdrew their ambassadors last year after the military ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, who had forged closer ties with Turkey's devout Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Turkey Charges Eight Police in Wiretapping Probe

Turkish prosecutors have charged eight police officers with illegally eavesdropping on top officials including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, state media said Saturday.

The eight were charged with illegal wiretapping, as well as forging official documents, and were remanded in custody late Friday pending a possible trial, the state television channel TRT said.

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Turkey Resumes Flights to Israel

Turkey on Saturday allowed the resumption of flights to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport after Israel and Hamas agreed to a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, the state civil aviation authority said on Saturday.

"Taking into account the current ceasefire, the flight ban on Israel's Ben Gurion Airport has been lifted, pending a subsequent announcement," Turkish Ministry of Transport's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (SHGM) said on Twitter.

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Diplomats in Paris Call for Extension to 12-Hour Gaza Truce

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and top diplomats from Europe and the Middle East gathered in Paris Saturday called for an extension to a temporary truce currently in force between Israel and Hamas.

Both sides have agreed to a 12-hour "humanitarian" ceasefire in Gaza that started at 0500 GMT Saturday, putting a brief stop to a conflict that has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians -- a large majority of them civilians.

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Turkey FM Meets Hamas Chief Meshaal in Doha for Gaza Talks

Turkey's foreign minister on Friday met Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal in the Qatari capital Doha to help efforts to broker a ceasefire with Israel, a government official said.

Ahmet Davutoglu met Meshaal in Doha for "negotiations aimed at a fair ceasefire," the official told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity. "The talks are proceeding in a positive direction."

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