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Syrian Colonel in Turkey Exile Urges Unity against Damascus

A Syrian army colonel who fled to Turkey has called for a united front against President Bashar Assad's regime, the Anatolia news agency reported on Tuesday.

"Opponent forces in Syria should get united and close ranks until the regime collapses," colonel Riad al-Asaad, who is currently taking refuge in Turkey, told the news agency.

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Berri from Armenia: International Powers Targeting Arab Regimes to Subject Them to Their Will

Speaker Nabih Berri criticized on Tuesday the international community’s “double standards” in dealing with Israel, accusing it of having hidden agendas in the Middle East.

He said before the Armenian parliament: “International decision-makers are placing all Arab regimes in the position of the accused in order to subject them to their will.”

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Turkish PM Leaves Door Open to Talks with Kurdish Rebels

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested a resumption of talks with Kurdish rebels was possible despite a recent surge in attacks, the Turkish press reported Monday.

"If we deem it necessary, we will make a decision and tell our colleagues to do what is needed," Erdogan said, referring to talks with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

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Turkey Breaks Russian Gas Contract

Turkey has revoked a contract to purchase six billion cubic meters a year of natural gas from Russia, its main supplier, after failing to win a discount, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Saturday.

"The contract on the western routing has been wound up because the request for a lower price has been refused," Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying.

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Syria Dissidents Meet as Crackdown Claims More Lives

Representatives of Syria's six-month-old protest movement joined opposition parties in Turkey on Saturday to forge a united front against Bashar Assad's regime after violence claimed at least 19 more lives.

Clashes between security forces and deserters killed 11 people in a village in Hama province on Friday, while another eight died during a crackdown on protests in flashpoint Homs, human rights activists said.

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Turkey Requests Discount on Russian Gas Imports

Turkey threatened Thursday to revoke a contract to purchase six billion cubic meters of natural gas, a third of its Russian imports, if the price is not reduced.

"We have asked them (Russia) for a reduction. If Russia does not sufficiently meet this demand, we will display the will to end the contract," Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters in Ankara.

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Turkey Slams Israeli Expansion of East Jerusalem Settlement

Turkey on Thursday slammed Israeli plans to expand a settlement in east Jerusalem and said the move further underlined the need for the world to back the Palestinian bid for full U.N. membership.

"Israel's decision raises serious doubts about its sincerity and its true intentions," Turkey's foreign ministry said in a statement. "It constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and is unacceptable."

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Turkish Ship Close to Cypriot Gas Search Zone

A Turkish exploration ship is searching for gas and oil "close to" a Cypriot drilling zone off the divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus, a senior energy ministry official said Tuesday.

"Our ship is exploring gas close to the Greek Cypriot zone, and under the escort of Turkish naval vessels," the official told Agence France Presse, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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Turkey to Start Gas Exploration in Mediterranean Monday

Turkey will start Monday to explore gas and oil in the eastern Mediterranean following a move by Greek Cypriots to press ahead with offshore gas drilling, the Anatolia news agency reported.

"We expect the ship to arrive at noon to the region where exploration will start. The team will start seismological research in the afternoon, after it reaches the region whose (geographical) position was specified," said Huseyin Avni Benli, the head of the institute that owns the ship, Anatolia reported.

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6 Turkish Soldiers, 3 Rebels Killed in Police Station Attack

Six Turkish soldiers and three Kurdish rebels died during an attack on a police station in the country's Kurd-dominated southeast, an official statement said on Sunday.

The Saturday evening attack in the village of Belenoluk in Siirt province also injured 11 others, the governorate said in a statement, adding that three "terrorists" perished in the gunbattle.

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