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Ahmadinejad Urges Arab Leaders to Accept Reform

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged Arab governments to heed popular demands for reform at a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the presidential website said on Tuesday.

"Today, the people of the region must enjoy equal rights, the right to vote, security and dignity, and no government can deprive them of freedom and justice or refuse their peoples' demands," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

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Syrian Refugees Return Home from Turkey

The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey fell to around 8,500 as hundreds decided to return home over the weekend, Turkish officials said Monday.

Some 238 Syrians went back to their country over the last two days, lowering the total number of refugees in Turkey to 8,579, the country's disaster and emergency management agency said on its website.

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Turkey Wants Cyprus Referendum in Early 2012

Turkey hopes that accelerated peace talks in Cyprus will lead to a referendum on reunification early next year; Anatolia news agency quoted Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as saying Saturday.

"We expect and hope that a comprehensive settlement is found to the Cyprus problem by the year-end, a referendum is held in the beginning of 2012 and a united Cyprus takes over the EU presidency in July 2012," Davutoglu said in the Turkish sector of Cyprus' divided capital Nicosia.

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Israel-Turkey Reconciliation Talks Collapse

Israel-Turkey talks meant to repair ties strained by a fatal attempt to breach Israel's Gaza blockade have collapsed, an Israeli official said on Thursday.

The talks were being held ahead of a U.N. report which Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said listed faults of both sides' handling of the issue, in which Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish nationals.

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Israel Seeks to Fix Turkey Ties before U.N. Report on Flotilla Raid

Israel's prime minister said on Wednesday ties were improving with Turkey, as officials worked to patch up relations before the release of a U.N. report on last year's fatal raid on a Gaza flotilla.

Speaking in Bucharest at the start of a trip to Romania and Bulgaria, Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel and Turkey were looking to heal the breach in relations that followed the killing in May 2010 of nine Turkish activists by Israeli commandos who stormed a convoy looking to run the blockade on Gaza.

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Turkey's PM Announces New Cabinet

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday unveiled Turkey's new cabinet after his Islamist-rooted party won a third straight term in power in the June 12 elections.

The line-up included 25 ministers, both outgoing cabinet members and newcomers, Erdogan told a press conference after President Abdullah Gul approved the list.

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Turkey Extends UNIFIL Mission in Lebanon

Turkey's parliament has approved a government request to extend for one year the Turkish military mission with the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

It was the fifth time that parliament extended the mission since it was first approved in September 2006.

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2 Turkish Soldiers Shot Dead in Kurdish Town

Two soldiers were shot dead Tuesday in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast in an attack believed to be the work of Kurdish rebels, security sources said.

The soldiers, wearing civilian clothes, came under fire while walking on the main street of Yuksekova town, a hotbed of Kurdish militancy in the province of Hakkari, which borders Iran and Iraq, the sources said.

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Syrian Refugees in Turkey Drop Below 10,000

The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey dropped below 10,000 as hundreds more returned home, Turkish officials said Monday.

Some 405 Syrians went back to their country on Sunday and Monday, decreasing the total number of refugees in Turkey to 9,909, the country's disaster and emergency management agency said on its website.

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Turkey Recognizes Libyan Rebel Council

Turkey's top diplomat on Sunday recognized Libya's rebel council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, as he vowed to do "everything" possible to end the fighting.

Ahmet Davutoglu arrived in Benghazi, giving the National Transitional Council the much sought-after political and economic support of a major regional player and former colonial power.

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