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Don\'t give up on Turkey

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PoliticsAfter the European Union decided against admitting Turkey as a member anytime soon, Turkish officials could barely hide their bitter disappointment this past weekend. U.S. officials felt the same way. The EU's rebuff was not just a slap at Turkey, but also at the Bush administration, which had lobbied fiercely for an ally that will be critical if American forces go to war against Iraq.
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New death in Turkey hunger strike

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A prisoner has died in an ongoing hunger strike to protest against the prison system in Turkey, bringing the number of those who have starved themselves to death to 62.
Feride Harman, who was on a six-month temporary release due to her deteriorating health, died on Sunday night at her home in Aksaray, near Istanbul, after fasting for almost 18 months.
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Anzac Day to last 48 hours

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General NewsThe growing number of young Australians making the Anzac Day pilgrimage to Turkey has forced ceremonies to be expanded over two days.

At Gallipoli next year the traditional Anzac dawn service and the Australian memorial service at Lone Pine would continue to be held on April 25, but the Turkish international, French and Commonwealth services will now be held on April 24, Veterans Affairs Minister Danna Vale said yesterday.

Mrs Vale said the Turkish Government had extended the commemorative period to alleviate problems with traffic and overcrowding. A large video screen and superior sound system will also be provided.
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Pentagon: no comment on report of troops in N.Iraq

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PoliticsDUBAI, Dec 15 - The Pentagon said on Sunday it had no information about an alleged movement of U.S. troops and equipment into northern Iraq from Turkey, reported by Turkey\'s NTV and the Arabic Al-Jazeera television channel.

A Pentagon spokesman in Washington said: \"I have nothing on that.\"

A Turkish military spokesman declined to comment on the NTV report and a U.S. embassy official in Ankara told Reuters: \"I have heard nothing. (The NTV report) is not substantiated.\"

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Turkish Cypriots may pose threat to EU talks

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Turkey\'s hard-won timetable for starting accession talks with the European Union could be threatened unless the new government can persuade the Turkish Cypriot leadership and hardliners at home to accept a United Nations plan to reunite Cyprus, officials and analysts warned yesterday.


In the absence of a settlement, the Greek Cypriots would enter the EU on their own and probably oppose the membership of Turkey, the Turkish Cypriots\' patron, for years to come. This is why europhiles on the Turkish mainland say the real disappointment of the Copenhagen summit was not a late start date for Turkish accession talks but the failure of Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, to sign the UN plan.

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THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

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PoliticsThe good: At last, Turkey was given a date for opening of accession talks with the European Union (EU) during Copenhagen Summit. The decision taken by leaders of the EU countries confirmed that Turkey was a part of Europe. The bad: The EU set the date for opening of accession talks with Turkey as December of 2004. In fact, Turkey was not in favor of this date. Because, 10 new member countries including Greek Cypriot side will have the authority in the decision-making mechanism of the EU on that date. The ugly: Serious accusations were put forward against Turkey during the summit. President Jacques Chirac said that Turks had been blackmailing. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said, \'\'no money for Turkey.\'\'
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Walker\'s World: Europe mission impossible

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OpinionsLONDON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The wintry air of Denmark\'s capital, Copenhagen, has been thick these recent days with self-congratulation, as the European Union\'s 15 rich and democratic nations formally embraced ten new member states from Central and Eastern Europe. Condolences might have been more suitable, for it will be a long, long time before the world ever talks of the \"rich\" EU again.

The 10 new members have a combined population of 75 million, but a combined GDP of just $338 billion -- less than that of Holland. The EU is increasing its population by almost a quarter, but increasing its wealth by just 4 percent.

The EU\'s GDP per head last week was around $25,000, close to that of the United States. The new, enlarged EU\'s GDP per head next week will be just $20,000 -- uncomfortably close to that of South Korea.
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Turkish Center-Right Party Swaps Leader

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PoliticsANKARA, Turkey--The center-right Turkish party True Path has chosen a former interior minister as its new leader, replacing ex-premier Tansu Ciller, who took a beating in recent elections. At a party congress Saturday, Mehmet Agar was acclaimed as the new leader. Ciller, who was Turkey's first and only woman to serve as premier, resigned after Nov. 3 elections in which her party failed to clear the 10 percent threshold required to win seats in Parliament.
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Saint Nicholas ::: Who is St. Nicholas?

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St. Nicholas, born in 245 A.D. in Patara near Fethiye (known variously as St.Nicholas, Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Heilige Nikolaus and Pere Noel) died in 326 A.D., having spent his life in Anatolia

Son of a wealthy family and of good education, he devoted himself to mankind. Because of the assistance he rendered to those around him, St. Nicholas was known as the protector of children and sailors, and to this day the legend of Father Christmas has continued to live as vividly as ever.
As the Bishop of Demre, by his religious and social work, he solved the problems of the people in a humane way. After he died he was buried in Demre and a church was built there for his memory.
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Want us to take Turkey? You add Mexico

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PoliticsCOPENHAGEN, Denmark--The EU flexed its muscles Friday at its summit here, dismissing American pressure to speed up the admission of Turkey as unwarranted interference.

President Bush was given a taste of the EU\'s newfound confidence as a future colossus of 25 states, led by a revived Franco-German axis, when he was told accession talks with Turkey were entirely \"a European decision.\"

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark\'s prime minister, told Bush caustically that Washington had failed to grasp the meaning of EU membership, which involves sharing a lawmaking parliament, a currency and a supreme court in a close-knit union.

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