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By Ayla Jean Yackley ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish maritime authorities have reopened Istanbul's Bosphorus Strait to transiting tankers after shutting it earlier on Saturday for several hours following what the government said was an attempted coup by a faction in the military. The Bosphorus is one of world's most important chokepoints for the maritime transit of oil with over three percent of global supply - mainly from Russia and the Caspian Sea - passing through the 17-mile waterway that connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. It also ships vast amounts of grains from Russia and Kazakhstan to world markets.
Iran, Turkey's neighbor and regional rival, said on Saturday it fully supported the Turkish government against an attempted military coup and expressed concern about its implications. President Hassan Rouhani chaired a meeting of the National Security Council on Saturday to discuss the latest developments in Turkey, where loyalist troops were fighting to crush the remnants of a coup attempt launched on Friday night. "We support Turkey's legal government and oppose any type of coup - either initiated domestically or supported by foreigners," National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani said after the meeting, quoted by state news agency IRNA.
By Alistair Bell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States called on all parties in Turkey to support President Tayyip Erdogan's government against a coup attempt as world leaders expressed concern about the upheaval in a NATO member country that bridges Europe and the Middle East. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by phone and gave their support to Erdogan after Turkey's military said it had seized power on Friday. By early Saturday, Erdogan appeared to have regained control.
Iranian police denied Saturday claims by prominent sculptor Parviz Tanavoli they were behind a legal complaint that had prevented the artist from leaving the country earlier this month. Tanavoli, one of Iran's top artists, said last week after having been refused passage at the airport that he was told in court "that the police had accused me of publishing false information and disturbing the public peace".
World leaders urged "respect for democratic institutions" in key NATO member and European neighbour Turkey as parts of the military launched a coup attempt late Friday against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that saw violence erupt in Istanbul. The United States, Russia, NATO and the European Union appealed for stability, with US President Barack Obama calling on all parties in Turkey to back the "democratically-elected" government.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Friday presented to media a man it alleges is a South Korean spy who tried to enter the North to kidnap children. During a Pyongyang news conference attended by The Associated Press and other foreign media, detainee Ko Hyon Chol said he apologized for a crime he called "unforgivable." Ko, 53, said he was born in North Korea but fled the country in early 2013 to resettle in the South. He said he was later recruited by South Korea's spy service for a mission to abduct children from the North. He said he was arrested May 27 on an island in the Amnok River which runs along the border between North Korea and China.
Turkey's army launched a coup attempt on Friday in a country that has seen three full military coups since 1960. Here are some key facts on the strategically important Muslim-majority nation which is battling threats on two main fronts, against Islamic State group jihadists and Kurdish militants. Covering about 784,000 square kilometres (300,000 square miles), Turkey is slightly smaller than Pakistan but larger than the US state of Texas.
ANKARA (Reuters) - Iran said on Friday it was deeply concerned about the crisis in neighboring Turkey after reports of an attempted military coup there. "Stability, democracy and safety of Turkish people are paramount. Unity and prudence are imperative," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on his Twitter account. (Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
The UN's cultural agency on Friday added a ruined Armenian city inside Turkey's closed border with the ex-Soviet state to its World Heritage list, as it elevated eight other sites across the world to the list ranking. The site of Ani, which lies outside the Turkish city of Kars, was the capital of an Armenian kingdom around the end of the first millenium, before its conquest in 1064 by Seljuk forces hastened a decline then completed by the Mongol conquest and an earthquake. In another sensitive inscription, UNESCO elevated to World Heritage status caves once inhabited by Neanderthals in Britain's overseas territory of Gibraltar, which is claimed by Spain.
A new round of talks to end the war in Yemen has been delayed by a day and is now expected to start on Saturday, the UN spokesman said. The talks were pushed back while UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was in Riyadh to try to persuade Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to come to the negotiating table. Negotiators from the Huthi rebels and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh's political party were already in Kuwait awaiting the arrival of the government delegation.
The governor of Yemen's main southern city Aden survived a suicide car bombing that struck his convoy on Friday, a security official said, blaming Al-Qaeda. Aidarus al-Zubaidi escaped unharmed after the attack in the Inmaa district of Aden but three of his companions were wounded, the official said. The port city, the temporary base of Yemen's Saudi-backed government, has seen a wave of bombings and shootings targeting officials and security forces.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on the United States to choose diplomacy over intimidation and to fulfil its obligations under a year-old nuclear deal with world powers. "The Iran Deal was a triumph of diplomacy over coercion," Zarif wrote on Twitter late Thursday, the first anniversary of the July 14, 2015 accord with Washington and five other major powers. "Progress will remain elusive as long as short-sighted bragging, lacklustre implementation of obligations and tired slogans are preferred.
The governor of the southern Yemeni city of Aden survived a car bomb attack targeting his convoy on Friday, security officials and eyewitnesses said. A civil war has raged for over a year in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation, and security chaos has gripped the port city - temporary seat of Yemen's embattled government. Zubaidi was appointed governor of Aden after his predecessor was killed in a car bombing on Dec. 6 claimed by Islamic State, the latest attack by the new Yemen branch of the militant group against government targets.
By Phil Stewart BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. military is weighing an increase in its presence in Yemen to better challenge al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, building on momentum against the group after a successful offensive by Gulf allies, a top U.S. general told Reuters. U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, who oversees American troops in the region, said in an interview that a variety of locations could be suitable for American forces but did not disclose potential sites or suggest a recommendation was imminent. "We want to be able to work within a very secure environment to focus on the very (particular) mission we have there - which is principally focused on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)," he said, speaking in Baghdad.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation linked to the international nuclear agreement with Iran on Thursday, one year after the landmark pact was announced, defying President Barack Obama's veto threat. Voting largely along party lines, the Republican-controlled House voted 246 to 179 to pass a new set of sanctions on Iran, and 246 to 181 for a measure to block Iran's access to the U.S. financial system, including use of the dollar. The House on Wednesday passed a bill to bar the U.S. purchase of "heavy water," also with little backing from Democrats.
Babak Arzani was one of the hundreds of thousands of Iranians who participated in what became known as the Green Movement, taking to the streets of Tehran, Iran, to protest the official announcement of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory in the nation’s 2009 presidential election. Many, including Mr. Arzani, fled their native Iran – their hopes crushed and their lives in shambles. Recommended: Think you know Europe?
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama marked the anniversary of the landmark nuclear deal with Iran on Thursday by vowing that the United States and its partners will uphold their commitments as long as Iran abides by the pact. Congressional Republicans again tried to undermine the international accord, which outlines what Iran must do to pull back its nuclear program from the brink of weapons-making capacity.
By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pushed Saudi Arabia on Thursday to provide information on actions they are taking to prevent the killing and wounding of children in Yemen as Riyadh said it was conducting its military operations with "great care." Ban met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in New York to further discuss a U.N. report on children and armed conflict that briefly blacklisted a Saudi-led military coalition for killing children in Yemen. Ban removed the coalition from the list last month pending review after Riyadh, a major U.N. donor, threatened to cut funding.
Iran has summoned Egypt's top envoy in Tehran to "strongly protest" against the attendance of Egyptian lawmakers at an annual rally of an exiled opposition group, state media said. An Iranian foreign ministry official called the presence of a group of Egyptian MPs at the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) gathering in France on Saturday "a clear interference in our domestic affairs". Tehran accused the parliamentarians of supporting the "terrorist group", which includes the former rebel People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK).