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Watching the Kobane battle from 'media hill'

Thursday 16 October 2014 - Eye witness

Smoke rises after a strike on the Syrian town of Kobane as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border on October 12, 2014 (AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)

In the days before the conflict it was known to local gossips as the "love hill", a place where courting couples would come to chat and even flirt, away from prying eyes. But when Kobane became the focus of global attention this small bump of land by the Turkish border crossing of Mursitpinar became a magnet for the world's media. AFP reporter Fulya Ozerkan spent days there, watching the bitter fighting between the Islamic State group (IS) militants and Kurdish fighters for the Syrian town located just on the other side of the border.

(AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)

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Black flag over Kobane

Tuesday 7 October 2014 - Behind the image

Alleged Islamic State group militants stand next to an IS flag atop a hill in the Syrian town of Kobane, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border (AFP Photo / Aris Messinis)
AFP Photo / Aris Messinis

Black flag over Kobane

Fighters keep watch under the black flag of the Islamic State group on a hill to the east of the Syrian town of Kobane. AFP photographer Aris Messinis shot the picture early in the afternoon on Monday, October 6 from the Turkish village of Mursitpinar, just across the border. Its unusual composition and the fact that the militants' silhouettes seem out of proportion to other elements led some AFP clients to call the agency to check it was real.

It was. Here is the explanation.

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Foreign reporters not welcome

Wednesday 21 May 2014 - Eye witness


AFP journalist Ambre Tosunoglu is a French woman of Turkish descent. Despite her ties to the country -- and the fact that Turkish was her first language -- she said things have gotten more difficult for reporters working for foreign outlets in Turkey.

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Tensions rise on the streets of Turkey

Wednesday 12 March 2014 - Behind the image

A protester holds a placard displaying a portrait of Berkin Elvan. (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

"It feels like things could explode at any time -- with one crisis following another, it's very tense," writes AFP’s Istanbul bureau chief Philippe Alfroy.

Renewed unrest on the streets of Turkey following this week’s death of a teenage demonstrator is likely to add to pressure on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government has been rocked by an escalating corruption.

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Syrian refugees go hungry in Istanbul park

Tuesday 5 November 2013 - Behind the image

(AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

Syrian refugees go hungry in Istanbul park

More than 600,000 Syrians have sought refuge in neighbouring Turkey since conflict broke out in their country in March 2011. About a third of them are crowded into about 20 camps near the border, with the remainder spread across Turkey. In recent months, more and more of them have been seen in Istanbul. AFP photographer Bulent Kilic saw the increasing desperation of some of these people in an Istanbul park.

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Politics in Turkey a movable feast for reporters

Friday 11 January 2013 - Debriefing

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends the military's highest annual meeting with top military officials at the army headquarters in Ankara on August 1, 2010.

Whatever history’s judgment on the virtues and effectiveness of Turkey’s current leadership, for a reporter covering the day-by-day evolution of this gateway nation – the tectonic plate between Europe and the Middle East – they are certainly newsworthy. AFP senior correspondent Michel Sailhan, winding down a four-year tour of duty as our bureau chief in Ankara, reflects on Turkey’s recent past and possible futures. (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

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Of Guns and chicks: Sneaking into Syria

Tuesday 17 April 2012 - Eye witness

Michel Moutot, at the Turko-Syrian border.

AFP terrorism expert Michel Moutot, recipient of France’s Prix Albert Londres in 1999 for his reporting from Kosovo, recently slipped into Syria from Turkey, along with photographer Frederic Lafargue, to get a firsthand view of the conflict there.  One of the trickiest parts of the assignment was getting in and out of the strife-torn nation. (AFP Photo/Frederic Lafargue)


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