Iran Election Guide

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Turkey Live Coverage (26 April): From the Kurdish Language to Iranian Banks

1615 GMT: Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu has stated that if participants at this year's May Day celebrations cause any trouble in Taksim Square, a celebration will not be allowed next year .

1525 GMT: Today's Zaman claims that the military's April 27 (2007) e-memorandum will be the next case to be considered by the judiciary as it investigates claimed attempts at coups.

Shortly after the ruling AKP government announced that Abdullah Gul was their Presidential nominee five years ago, Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) issued a statement on its website, saying that the military was following the debate over secularism in the presidential election with “concern” and would “openly display its position and attitude when it becomes necessary.”

The statement concluded that "anyone opposing the 'how happy is he who can say I am a Turk' mentality of the founder of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, he is the enemy of the Turkish Republic and he will stay as such".

1430 GMT: Nineteen people have been taken into custody on charges that they are members of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) in Mardin. In searches of buildings in the Omerli district, including the opposition party BDP's district administration building, three pistols, two unlicensed shotguns, one bobbin of copper wire, and nine PKK donation bills were found. 

1400 GMT: The Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), Turkey's state-run oil company, today began drilling for oil and gas in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC).

1330 GMT: Pictures of the military operation continuing in the provinces of Bingol and Diyarbakir.

1310 GMT: During his speech in Parliament, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu defended Ankara's policy on Syria. He said:

A new Middle East is emerging and we will continue to lead this. Turkey will pioneer this order of peace. … The Turkish people of 74 million are [standing] next to the Syrian people and will continue to be so.

Those who side with dicta regimes instead of the people of the Middle East cannot understand our policies. … We stand by people, not minority dictatorships.

1245 GMT: A group of PKK members launched an attack with howitzers to a military base located at the Cukurca district of Hakkari province. No injuries reported.  

1220 GMT: Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has claimed that the enviroment of discrimination disappeared with the advent of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Arinc said, "There was discrimination. We resolved it. We are the descendants of a nation based on democracy." 

1200 GMT: European Police Office (EUROPOL) has said Europe is the "logistical support base" of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and accused the group of being in illegal activities in its 2012 report. It says:

Europe remains a logistical support base for funding, recruitment, training and propaganda. To fulfil these logistical activities, the PKK has a network of recruiters across Europe, which could be a cause of concern.

Extortion, money laundering, facilitating illegal immi- gration, drugs and human trafficking remain the main crimes committed by PKK members in Europe as well as their main profit generators.

1140 GMT: Speaking at a pressBpriefing on Wednesday, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)'s Vice Chairman Aysel Tugluk said that they want to serve as the human shield against the continuing military operations in the rural districts of Diyarbakir and Bitlis provinces. Tugluk asserted that around 10,000 thousand soldiers equipped with gas masks are present in the region.

1110 GMT: Diyarbakir's Dicle University Senate has revealed that Kurdish language will be a selective course at the faculties of Education and Medicine from the beginning of the new semester. "Kurdish Language and Literature" will be taught in the Department of Eastern Languages and Literature. 

1100 GMT: All political parties in the Parliament have reached a consensus on finding a legal solution to the issue of jailed deputies, agreeing that courts will not release elected legislators if they have been charged with terrorism-related crimes.

1030 GMT: According to Today's Zaman, Iran's three biggest banks --- Tejarat Bank, Pasargad Bank and another bank, whose name was not disclosed --- want to become the newest institutions in the Turkish banking sector. They have already applied to the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) recently. A written request has been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a banking license. The government will make the final decision.

The Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) notes that, with the addition of 590 companies last year, the number of Iranian firms in Turkey rose to 2,140.

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