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Turkey Officially Meets with Syrian Opposition

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has met with leaders of Syria's opposition movement urging unity in pursuit of a peaceful transition in the country, a Turkish diplomat said Tuesday.

"The minister met with representatives of the Syrian opposition, for the first time, in Ankara on Monday," the diplomat told Agence France Presse on condition of anonymity.

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Report: Turkey Confirms to Host Palestinian Prisoners

Some of the Palestinian prisoners released as part of a deal to hand over captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit will be taken in by Turkey, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported Monday.

The agency quoted diplomatic sources as saying that Turkey would host some of the released prisoners along with Qatar and Egypt.

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Nine Killed in Syria Crackdown: Activists

Nine people were killed on Sunday as Syrian security forces pressed a crackdown on political dissent in three separate hubs of protest against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, activists said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in emailed statements received by Agence France Presse in Nicosia that four civilians died in the central city of Homs when security forces opened fire on a protest outside the home of a detained activist, Mansur al-Arassi.

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Police Detain Six after Ankara Blast

Turkish police have detained six suspects in connection with last month's bomb attack that rocked the center of the capital Ankara, killing five people, local security sources said Friday.

Police from southeastern Diyarbakir province launched simultaneous raids on two houses as part of an investigation by an Ankara prosecutor's office, the sources said.

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Second Turkish Gas Mission to Start Wednesday

A Turkish gas prospecting vessel will set sail late Wednesday for a second exploration off the Cyprus coast, not far from a Greek Cypriot drilling zone, an expedition member said.

The Piri Reis, whose first venture caused much tension between Turkey and Cyprus, will prospect less than 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from the Greek Cypriot site in the Mediterranean, mission coordinator Derman Dondurur told Anatolia news agency.

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Turkey Welcomes Israeli-Palestinian Prisoner Swap Deal

Turkey on Wednesday welcomed a deal between Israel and Hamas in which a Franco-Israeli soldier, held for five years, is to be exchanged for more than a thousand Palestinian prisoners.

"We are happy," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, of the deal that will see the Palestinian militant group free Gilad Shalit, who they have held since 2006.

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Turkey PM Urges Sarkozy for 'Honesty' in Politics

Turkey's prime minister on Tuesday rebuffed French President Nicolas Sarkozy's call for Ankara to recognize the World War I-era killing of Armenians as genocide, urging "honesty" in politics.

Speaking in Turkish parliament, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Sarkozy for using different languages when he spoke in Turkey, France and Armenia.

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Shaaban Tells Turkey Not to 'Inflame' Violence

Syria on Monday warned Turkey against "inflaming" unrest in the country, where more than 3,000 people are estimated to have died in six months of protests against President Bashar Assad.

Buthaina Shaaban, media adviser to the Syrian president, who has repeatedly promised reforms, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that "armed gangs" were responsible for the violence.

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Syrian Defector Urges Aid for Armed Opposition Group

A Syrian army defector has called for military aid to help his armed opposition group topple the Damascus regime, in an interview published in Turkey on Monday.

Colonel Riad al-Asaad, who defected in July, appealed for weapons for an armed opposition group he set up called the "Syrian Free Army".

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Israel Offers Condolences to Erdogan on Mother's Death

Israeli President Shimon Peres has sent a letter of condolence to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the death of his mother, the Anatolia news agency reported Monday.

"From my experience, I know very well the deep sense of grief, feeling like an orphan and the boundless sorrow of your loss," Peres was quoted as saying in the letter.

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