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Turkey Dismantles Armenia Friendship Statue

Turkey began Tuesday to demolish a 100 foot monument near its eastern border dedicated to friendship with Armenia after the prime minister called it a "monstrosity", Anatolia news agency reported.

Overriding widespread protests, the company tasked with demolition by the local authorities in Kars city took apart the first piece, which is one of two heads of the statue, depicting two figures emerging from one human shape, a witness told Agence France Presse.

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Armenia Remembers Genocide Amid Impasse with Turkey

Armenians on Sunday marked 96 years since the mass killings of their ancestors under the Ottoman Empire amid apparent deadlock in the process of normalizing relations with modern Turkey.

Armenia contends the killings were a genocide -- a label supported by some countries but vehemently opposed by Turkey -- and the controversy has poisoned ties between Yerevan and Ankara to this day.

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Turkey and Iran Open New Border Crossing

Iran and Turkey opened a third border crossing Saturday, with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu proclaiming the two neighbors "friends for eternity," Anatolia news agency reported.

Davutoglu inaugurated the new crossing at Kapikoy in eastern Turkey's Van province with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi, and said a fourth would open in June at Esendere in the southeast.

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Turkey Arrests Istanbul's al-Qaida Chief

Al-Qaida's leader in Istanbul was among a group of around 40 people detained by police Tuesday in a series of raids targeting Islamists in Turkey's largest city, media reports said.

The security forces made the arrests in raids on some 50 locations in Istanbul, the NTV news channel said, adding that the suspects included the leader of al-Qaida in the city, although he was not named.

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Turkish FM Meets Assad, Voices Ankara’s Support for Reform Plans

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu voiced his country's backing for a Syrian government reform package on Wednesday when he met President Bashar al-Assad, whose government has been shaken by three weeks of political unrest.

"Davutoglu expressed his country's support for the reform package adopted by the Syrian authorities," said the official SANA news agency citing a statement by the Syrian presidency.

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Report: Seven Kurdish Rebels Killed in Turkey

The Turkish army killed seven Kurdish rebels and seized explosives in clashes in a southern province on Friday, Anatolia news agency quoted officials as saying.

Acting on a tip-off that militants had sneaked in from neighboring Syria, the soldiers confronted the group in a rural area in the Mediterranean province of Hatay, the agency reported.

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Syria-bound Iranian Cargo Plane Forced to Land in Turkey

An Iranian cargo plane en route to Syria was forced to land in Turkey's southeastern Diyarbakir airport for an inspection, security forces said Sunday.

The plane, a civilian Ilyushin, landed on Saturday night on the orders of the Turkish authorities. Military fighter planes were on standby in case the plane refused to comply.

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Iranian Plane En Route to Syria Forced to Land in Turkey

An Iranian cargo plane en route to Syria was forced to land in Turkey's southeastern Diyarbakir airport for an inspection, security sources said Wednesday.

The plane landed following an order from the Turkish foreign ministry citing suspicion of military or nuclear related cargo on board, the sources said.

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Turkish Journalists Protest for Freedom of Press

Thousands of Turkish journalists took to the streets here on Sunday demanding the release of colleagues in prison and raising the issue of press freedom.

Journalists supported by activists, intellectuals, and some opposition parties marched in central Istanbul.

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Egypt Army Reiterates Democracy Pledge

Egypt's new military rulers told visiting Turkish President Abdullah Gul Thursday they were committed to overseeing a democratic transition after the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak.

"The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces reiterated its will to manage a democratic transition," Gul told reporters.

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