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ISTANBUL, June 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Turkish and U.S. military officials reached agreement on a plan for the Syrian city of Manbij at a meeting in Stuttgart this week and decided to present it to the countries’ leaders ahead of further talks, the Turkish armed forces said on Thursday.

The two countries said on June 4 they had endorsed a roadmap which envisages the withdrawal from Manbij of the Kurdish YPG militia, seen as a terrorist organisation by Ankara.

ISTANBUL, June 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Tayyip Erdogan is seen falling short of a first-round victory in Turkey’s presidential election, with his support dipping 1.6 points in one week, according to a survey by pollster Gezici published on Thursday.

The poll also showed his ruling AK Party was forecast to lose its parliamentary majority in the June 24 vote.

Gezici’s survey of 2,814 respondents, conducted on June 2-3, showed Erdogan receiving 47.1 percent of votes in the first round of presidential election, down from a level of 48.7 percent in a survey which it conducted a week earlier.

The poll showed that the AK Party’s alliance with the nationalist MHP would fall short of a majority in the 600-seat assembly, with 48.7 percent of the votes, unchanged from the figure in the previous survey a week earlier.

ISTANBUL, June 12, 2018 (News Wires) - The Turkish military destroyed 12 targets in northern Iraq belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in overnight air strikes, it said on Tuesday, as the army steps up operations against militant targets in the Qandil region.

The targets, in northern Iraq’s Qandil, Hakurk and Avasin-Basyan regions, included shelters and ammunition depots, it said. Turkey’s army has recently ramped up strikes against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, which has bases in the Qandil mountains.

The army also said that 34 militants had been “neutralised” in operations in northern Iraq between June 1 and June 8. The military uses the term “neutralised” to refer to operations in which opposition forces have been killed, wounded or captured.

President Tayyip Erdogan, who faces presidential elections on June 24, on Monday said Turkey would drain the “terror swamp” in Qandil.

The PKK, which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast, is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, Europe and Turkey.

VIENNA, June 8, 2018 (News Wires) - Austria could expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and their families as part of a crackdown on “political Islam”, Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said on Friday.

“The circle of people possibly affected by these measures - the pool that we’re talking about - comprises around 60 imams,” said Kickl of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), the junior partner in Austria’s coalition government.

In total 150 people risked losing their right to residence, he said at a press conference in Vienna.

Seven mosques will also be shut after an investigation by the religious affairs authority into images which emerged in April of children in a Turkish-backed mosque playing dead and reenacting the World War I battle of Gallipoli.

“Parallel societies, political Islam and radicalisation have no place in our country,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the ruling centre-right People’s Party said.

In several cases the process of expelling imams connected to the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) organisation was underway, Kickl said.

The interior minister added that the government suspects them of contravening a ban on foreign funding of religious office holders. ATIB is a branch of Turkey’s religious affairs agency Diyanet.

The photos of children, published by the Falter weekly, showed the young boys in camouflage uniforms marching, saluting, waving Turkish flags and then playing dead.

Their “corpses” were then lined up and draped in the flags.

The mosque in question was run by ATIB and is one of those that will be closed.

ATIB itself condemned the photos at the time, calling the “highly regrettable” event and said that “called off before it had even ended”.

Turkey’s relations with Austria have long been strained, with Kurz calling on the European Union to break off negotiations on Ankara joining the bloc.

Last week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attacked Kurz, saying: “This immoral chancellor has a problem with us”.

“He’s throwing his weight around and making a scene,” Erdogan went on.

ISTANBUL, May 13, 2018 (News Wires) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on his way to Britain where he'll meet Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday.

Before leaving Istanbul for London on Sunday, Erdogan called the UK a "strategic partner and ally" and said he would be discussing bilateral, regional and

international issues with May. They include the latest developments in Cyprus, where Turkey and Britain act as guarantors, and a "joint action plan" in the Middle East, especially in Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Erdogan said his three-day visit would also focus on increasing Turkey-Britain trade.

He said that "we want to continue our economic relations as the governments of Turkey and the United Kingdom without interruptions after Brexit."

Erdogan will also be speaking at think tank Chatham House and meeting investors.

ISTANBUL, May 10, 2018 (News Wires) - Turkish police detained 65 suspects on Thursday in an operation targeting air force personnel accused of links to the U.S.-based preacher whom Ankara says orchestrated an attempted coup in 2016, state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Prosecutors issued arrest warrants for a total 96 people, of which 91 were from the air force, and police were still seeking the remaining suspects in an operation focused on the western city of Izmir and spread across 15 provinces, it said.

The suspects were said to have ties to the cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose network is accused of being behind the failed putsch in July 2016, during which 250 people were killed. Gulen has denied involvement.

In a separate operation, an Ankara prosecutor on Thursday issued detention warrants for 93 employees of a private tutoring center that was previously closed down on suspicion of links to Gulen’s network, Anadolu said.

Turkish authorities have detained 160,000 people and dismissed nearly the same number of civil servants since the failed military intervention, the U.N. human rights office said in March.

Among those detained, more than 50,000 have been formally charged and kept in jail during their trials.

Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the crackdown. Critics of President Tayyip Erdogan accuse him of using the failed putsch as a pretext to quash dissent. Turkey says the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.

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