World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT) is directly involved in the negotiations to free 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims who were abducted in Syria, the Lebanese Daily Star reported on Thursday.
According to the report, a Turkish official has stated that the fates of two Turkish citizens kidnapped in Lebanon -- Abd Basset Orssolane and Aydın Tufan Tekin -- are tied to that of the 11 Lebanese pilgrims currently held in Syria, signaling Ankara's involvement in negotiations to end a crisis that began three months ago.
“The fate of the Turks kidnapped in Lebanon is de facto linked to the fate of the Lebanese inside Syria,” said the same official to the Daily Star.
According to the official, Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and director of General Security Brig. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim were briefed on the current status of the Lebanese kidnapped in Syria by MİT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan.
The report states that Charbel visited Turkey over the weekend in search of accurate information regarding the Lebanese pilgrims amid conflicting media reports concerning the fate of the men, many of whom had been reported dead in air strikes that targeted the Syrian town of Azaz, which killed at least 40 people.
However, Turkish President Abdullah Gül recently stated that the kidnapping of businessman Tekin was not linked to the abduction of the 11 Lebanese pilgrims in Syria. The Lebanese Shiite pilgrims were abducted in Syria in May while returning from a pilgrimage in Iran.
Tekin's abduction by the Meqdad clan in Beirut came after reports that the pilgrims had died in the air strikes in Azaz in northern Syria.
“We are doing what we can to save the abducted Lebanese, but this is an issue that we are not directly involved in,” said Gül.
The clan said that Tekin was kidnapped in retaliation for the Free Syrian Army's abduction of their relative Hasan Meqdad in Damascus. Meanwhile, the clan warned on Monday of unspecified action if their kinsman kidnapped in Syria is not released soon, raising fears that the Turkish hostages' life may be in danger.
The report also stated that officials at the Turkish Embassy maintained that the issue of the 11 Lebanese pilgrims and the two Turkish citizens kidnapped in Beirut were independent of one another, adding that Turkish officials were working to secure the pilgrims' release. The official also said that last week's strikes on the Syrian town of Azaz had further complicated the case of the Lebanese pilgrims in Syria.
A Hannover court threw out the case of a German couple seeking a refund for their holiday.
In 2014, Turkey’s electricity imports have risen due to lower than expected rains in winter and spring, and as a result hydropower plants did not meet their goal of providing a quarter of Turkey's electricity.
The number of publications in Kurdish has increased to 413 in the last year from 101 publications in 2008, statistics show.
The 1915 events took place during World War I, when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and rose up against the Ottoman authority. The uprisings were followed by a decision by the Ottoman Empire to relocate the Armenians living in eastern Anatolia.
Turkish dailies on Thursday are covering Turkish PM's paying tribute to Armenians who died in 1915.
Turkey has called for the research of the 1915 events to be carried out by a commission of Turkish, Armenian and international historians, the Turkish Prime Ministry said in a statement earlier on Wednesday ahead of the anniversary of the events.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan offered what the government said were unprecedented condolences to the grandchildren of Armenians killed in World War One
Convoy bound for Suleiman Shah Tomb in Turkish territory is planned activity, says military chief
AK Party Spokesman Celik still debating whether new election system will be a single member or narrowed district.
Turkish police say they plan to deport 135 illegal immigrants, including 120 Pakistanis.
Turkey condemned the forceful removal of the Ukrainian flag in the Crimean Tatar Mejlis by a group with unmarked military uniforms.
Turkey is looking good to potential investors according to visitors to the Borsa Istanbul forum in New York.
Turkey's President Gul calls for further cooperation with New Zealand on economy and commerce as he hosts New Zealand Governor-General Mateparae.
Former ministers will attend parliamentary debate corruption inquiry.
"The people do not want to see protesters clashing with police in the street. The people don't want streets scenes dominated by stones, sticks and Molotov cocktails" Erdogan said
Energy Minister Taner Yildiz will open the fair, and International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol will deliver a speech during the opening ceremony.