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Turkey's Military Police Leader New Chief-of-staff

Turkey's military police chief was named acting chief-of-staff late Friday, after the country's top military command resigned in a row with the government, the prime minister's office said.

"The president has approved the assignment of military police chief General Necdet Ozel as the land forces commander. General Ozel is deployed as acting chief-of-staff," it said in a statement.

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Blast Hits Iran-Turkey Gas Pipeline, Cutting Supplies

A blast early Friday hit a pipeline carrying natural gas from Iran to Turkey, forcing a cut in supply, an Iranian oil official said.

"The export of gas to Turkey has been temporarily halted after an explosion struck the pipeline" in northwestern Iran, spokesman for National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Majid Boujarzadeh told the oil ministry's news agency SHANA.

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Apostle Philip's Tomb Found in Turkey

Archaeologists believe they have discovered the tomb of Saint Philip, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, in western Turkey, Anatolia news agency said Wednesday, quoting the team leader.

"We have been looking for Saint Philip's tomb for years," Italian Francesco d'Andria told the agency. "We finally found it in the ruins of a church which we excavated a month ago."

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Turkey Mulls Harder Line if Israel Refuses to Apologize

Turkey is preparing to harden its attitude towards Israel for its refusal to apologize over last year's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, official sources said on Tuesday.

The Israeli government has to date failed to either say sorry or compensate families of the nine activists who were killed in May last year in a commando raid on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish-owned ferry which was leading the convoy.

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Abou Faour: Jumblat Concerned Over Lebanon’s Civil Peace, Syria’s Stability

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat continues to remain a centrist and seeks to defend civil peace, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Tuesday.

Civil peace is a priority for Jumblat who is only interested in keeping Lebanon away from strife, Abou Faour, who represents the PSP chief in the cabinet, said.

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Report: Hariri to Make Series of Stances during Iftars in BIEL

Former Premier Saad Hariri is expected to return to Beirut from France next week to attend Iftar banquets, sources close to the Mustaqbal movement leader told An Nahar daily Monday.

Hariri “will return to Lebanon in the first days of the month of Ramadan early August to be present in a series of Iftars held at the BIEL exhibition center rather than Qoreitem where Iftars were held in previous years,” the sources said.

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Erdogan: No Normalization Unless Israel Apologizes over Flotilla Raid

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday it was "unthinkable" for Ankara to normalize relations with Israel until it apologized over its bloody raid on a Turkish ship heading for Gaza.

"As long as Israel does not apologies to Turkey, pay compensation to the families of the victims and lift its blockage on the Gaza strip, a normalization of relations is unthinkable," he said at the opening of a meeting of Palestinian ambassadors in Istanbul in the presence of President Mahmoud Abbas.

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Israel Refuses to Apologies to Turkey over Flotilla

Israel will not "take responsibility" for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals by apologizing to Ankara over its botched 2010 raid on a ferry heading for Gaza, a senior cabinet minister said Thursday.

"We are not ready to apologize as apologizing is taking responsibility," Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon told reporters in Jerusalem.

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Turkish PM Wishes to Visit Gaza

Turkey's prime minister said on Tuesday he was considering visiting the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, a move likely to anger Israel amid diplomatic efforts to overcome already strained bilateral ties.

"If the conditions allow, I'm thinking of visiting Gaza," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters. "The foreign ministry will be working on it. I wish to make such a visit, depending on the outcome."

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Israel Likely to Apologize to Turkey over Flotilla Raid

Israel will probably soon apologize to Turkey for a 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla which left nine Turkish activists dead, a senior Turkish diplomat said Tuesday.

"I would be surprised if there were no apologies since both sides have the political will to resolve this crisis," said ambassador Ozdem Sanberk, a member of the U.N. panel probing the Israeli raid.

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