Inside the Middle East
December 17, 2012
Posted: 618 GMT

A look back at the highlights of 2012 covered on Inside the Middle East.

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Filed under: Abu Dhabi •Algeria •Bahrain •Culture •Dubai •Egypt •Inside The Middle East •Iran •Iraq •Israel •Jordan •Kuwait •Lebanon •Morocco •Oman •Saudi Arabia •Sports •Tunisia •Turkey •UAE •Women •Yemen

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September 6, 2012
Posted: 1108 GMT

She screamed in the face of all the men in her village "Don't talk behind my back, don't play with my honor."

With the head of her rapist in her hand, Nevin Yildirim, a 26-year-old mother of two, walked to the main square of her village and told everyone about her murder.

"Here is the head of the man who played with my honor." She said after throwing the head in the middle of the square.

After continually raping her for 8 months, Yildirim, who said she is pregnant with the rapist's child, decided to take matters into her own hands and shoot the man twice and cut off his head when he died.

She said, 35-year old Nurettin Gider, threatened her with a gun and said he would kill her children, ages 2 and 6, if she made any noise.

In small villages like hers, honor is held above all else, and women carry the burden of honor for their families.

She was arrested short after the incident and now is asking for an abortion. In Turkey, abortion is only allowed during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

The story went viral on social media and local newspapers. Some called her murder a heroic act after they said laws and society failed her.

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Filed under: General •Turkey •Video •Women

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June 3, 2012
Posted: 1519 GMT

A Turkish court charged an award-winning pianist on Friday with insulting Islam on Twitter, according to the Associated Press.  

Fazil Say, a 42-year-old Turkish pianist, reportedly posted several tweets to his Twitter account which were perceived as supporting atheism and insulting of Turkey's “religious values”. 

Say faces up to 18 months in prison if convicted in an October trial, according to his lawyer's comments in this article from Agence-France Presse.

"It's unbelievable that it was made into a court case." Mr. Say told the New York Times. "The case, which is inconsistent with human rights and universal laws, is bad for Turkey's image," he said to Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper.

Here's the NYT on Say's controversial tweets:

Another Twitter post, this one written by Mr. Say, joked about a muezzin’s rapid delivery of the call to prayer, asking if he wanted to get away quickly for a drink. The messages are no longer available online. The pianist, who has frequently criticized the pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party government over its cultural and social policies, publicly defines himself as an atheist— a controversial admission in Turkey, which is overwhelmingly Muslim.

Read more on Say on his website and Facebook account.

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Filed under: Culture •Turkey

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June 13, 2011
Posted: 901 GMT

The party of Turkey's ruling prime minister sailed to an easy victory in parliamentary elections on Sunday, winning a third term in office with 49.9% of the vote with 99.9% of the votes counted.

But marring the night, an unknown number of people were wounded at a post-election party.

For nearly a decade, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics while also defining his country's assertive new role as an economic and diplomatic power in the region.

Campaigning on his record of unprecedented economic stability and prosperity during nine years in power, Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) succeeded in slightly increasing his mandate. The AKP won 49.9% of the vote, an increase of nearly 4 percentage points from the party's performance in the 2007 parliamentary election.

"We are thrilled after winning one out of every two voters' votes in the country," Erdogan said late Sunday night.

In a victory speech delivered from the balcony of his party headquarters in Ankara, Erdogan made a pledge to serve all Turks, regardless of ethnicity or religious sect. Read more...

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Filed under: Turkey •Video

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December 20, 2010
Posted: 824 GMT

The dance of the Whirling Dervishes is not only a sight to behold for spectators, it is a sacred ritual for followers of this mystical and philosophical strand of Islam.

The Order of Mevlevi, as the Whirling Dervishes are officially known, is a Sufi movement founded in the 13th century after the death of poet and philosopher Mevlana Rumi.

Their spiritual home is Konya, in the central Anatolian region of Turkey, where the Mevlana Museum contains the tomb of Rumi and his son.

Every December, crowds flock to Konya to commemorate Rumi and watch the Whirling Dervishes perform their iconic dance.
The dance is performed in a symbolic costume of white robes and a conical hat, called a sikke. Accompanied by a reed pipe, the dancers raise their arms towards heaven and whirl in a counter-clockwise direction.

Also known as the sema ceremony, the dance is a central part of the Mevlevi philosophy and has been added to UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Read more...

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Filed under: Culture •Turkey •Video

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October 19, 2010
Posted: 459 GMT


Israeli and Greek Air Forces train together in Greece  (Israeli Military Photo)
Israeli and Greek Air Forces train together in Greece (Israeli Military Photo)

This week's visit of Greek Foreign Minister Dmityris Droutsas to Israel marks another step in what the Israeli media is calling a "blossoming romance" between the two countries.

The warming has intensified amid Israel's deteriorating relations with Turkey, Greece's historical rival.

Droutsas' visit, which includes the signing of an aviation agreement between the two countries, comes several days after the nations held joint military exercises in southern Israel, and follows earlier visits by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Athens and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou to Jerusalem.

Israel and Turkey had been strategic allies, with the countries' militaries cooperating closely. But that relationship began to experience strains after a dispute over Israel's assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza in January of 2009, and was seriously damaged when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish-flagged ship carrying humanitarian supplies as it tried to break Israel's blockade of Gaza. Nine Turkish nationals were killed.

Read the rest of the story here

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Filed under: Israel •Turkey

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August 25, 2010
Posted: 827 GMT

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Filed under: Culture •General •Turkey •Video

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June 2, 2010
Posted: 1105 GMT
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June 1, 2010
Posted: 926 GMT

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A day after Israeli forces stormed a flotilla carrying humanitarian supplies in a fatal raid, independent information on what transpired remained scant Tuesday.

The death toll of nine killed came from the Israelis, who did not release the names of those who died.

The Free Gaza Movement, one of the groups that organized the convoy of ships, said the fatalities numbered higher, but did not offer an exact number.

The surviving passengers themselves were being held incommunicado by Israeli authorities.

Of the foreigners who were taken into custody, none have been placed under arrest, the Israeli police said Tuesday.

The foreigners who have identified themselves were being taken to Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv to be flown back to their native countries, police said.

Those who have refused to identify themselves to Israeli immigration authorities have been transferred to a prison in Beer Sheva in southern Israel where they are being temporarily held as they undergo security checks, police said.

A police spokesman said that the process involved in deporting these latter protesters is more complicated as it requires the involvement of foreign diplomats.

Early Tuesday morning, the U.N. Security Council said it regretted the loss of lives on the humanitarian flotilla bound for Gaza and condemned the actions that led to the deaths.

"The Security Council deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza," the council said in a statement. "The council in this context condemns those acts which resulted in the loss of at least 10 civilians and expresses condolences to the families."

The 15 member-nations of the council requested the immediate release of the seized ships that made up the flotilla, as well as the civilians who were taken into custody following the raid.

And it called for a "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent" investigation into the incident. Read full story and Q&A on Israel's Gaza blockade.

Filed under: Gaza •Human Rights •Israel •Palestinians •Turkey •United Nations

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May 31, 2010
Posted: 702 GMT

(CNN) - More than 10 people onboard a flotilla carrying aid for the Palestinian territory of Gaza were killed when security forces boarded the boats Monday, the Israeli military said. Four soldiers were wounded, the military added.

Soldiers boarded six ships, the military said, after the flotilla refused to heed warnings to dock at Israel's Ashdod port, where supplies would be unloaded and transferred to Gaza.

"At about 4:30 am, Israeli commandos dropped from helicopter onto deck of Turkish ship, immediately opened fire on unarmed civilians," a post on the group's Twitter page said.

Video aired on CNN sister network CNN Turk showed what appeared to be soldiers rappelling onto the deck of a ship.

Turkish media reported two dead and 50 injured in the alleged incident as a flotilla of six ships approached the Gaza coast. Free Gaza co-founder Greta Berlin told Al Jazeera English that its lawyers in Israel informed her that 10 people have been killed and many others injured. CNN could not immediately confirmed the reports.

"We did not attack any boat, we merely fulfill the Israeli government's decision to prevent anyone from going into the Gaza strip without coordinating with Israel," a statement from the Israeli military said. "The flotilla is a provocation made to de-legitimize Israel. Had they really wanted to deliver the cargo into Gaza they could have done so via Israel as it is done on a daily basis."

Israel's deputy foreign minister has scheduled a press conference for 10:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. ET).

In Istanbul, Turkey, the Foreign Ministry has summoned the Israeli ambassador for an explanation, according to Murat Mercan, head of parliament's foreign relations committee, who said he's expected a "very harsh declaration" from Turkish authorities. Read full story

Filed under: Gaza •Israel •Palestinians •Turkey

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