MIDEAST MIRROR 18.05.15, SECTION C (TURKEY & IRAN)
1-From today’s Turkish press
GENERAL ELECTIONS: Mehmet Tezkan detects a significant shift in the ruling AKP’s (Justice and Development Party’s) election campaign in centrist Milliyet: "The ruling party has changed its rhetoric over the last couple of days. When I say the ruling party, I do not only mean the prime minister [Davutoglu] but the president [Erdogan] as well. The president has been involved in the election campaign from the very beginning. In the first quarter of the campaign, the government was busy responding to the CHP's [main opposition Republican People's Party's] economic promises. It was at pains to contradict them. In the second quarter of the campaign, however, it has changed its tone. It has begun to focus on religion, faith, the Qur’an, the Ka’ba, the kiblah [Muslim direction of prayer] religious high schools and the headscarf. It has made religious sensitivities the main issue of the campaign debate."
Mustafa Balbay sees the ruling party losing ground in secular, Kemalist Cumhuriyet: "The June 7th election is different from previous elections. The HDP [pro-Kurdish leftist alliance] has joined the election under its own signboard rather than as independent candidates, for the first time. In general, there has been a serious shift among the groups that have voted for the AKP since 2002. Especially among those with a centre right background who used to vote for it but are currently tending to vote otherwise."
Ali Unal argues that the government has made things worse both at home and abroad in moderate, pro-Islamic, pro-Gulen Zaman: "The gap between rich and poor, and the unfair distribution of income in the country have gradually become worse. The government is seeking a deal with the terror organization [PKK - Kurdistan Workers' Party] and its leader. Innocent people have been sacrificed for that purpose. As in Syria and Egypt, Turkey has played a role in the massacre and suffering of millions of Muslims as a result of its foreign policy fiascos."
Markar Esayan believes his predictions have come true in moderate, pro-Islamic, pro-government Yeni Safak: "The HDP has begun to falter. When it began to attack religion so as to look sympathetic to the obsessed seculars, it lost the conservative Kurds. And in trying to win over the conservative Kurds by being pro-Kurdish, it has hit the wall. At the beginning of the campaign, I assumed that the HDP leaders would make many mistakes. And this is exactly what has happened."
MURSI VERDICT: Murat Yetkin takes issue with the death sentence passed on former Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammad Mursi in centre-left Radikal: "Mursi's death sentence is wrong, not only because the death penalty has no place in the contemporary world as an irreversible punishment. It is murder at the hands of the state. In Mursi's case, it will also complicate everything in the Middle East. It is as if the Egyptian government is not only telling the Egyptian nation but the whole Arab nation that they are not mature enough to determine their destiny through the ballot box."
Abdulkadir Selvi launches an assault on the West in Yeni Safak: "The death penalty is a certificate of honor for Mursi and a disgrace for [Egyptian President] Sissi and the West. The West, which has been cooperating with kings and dictators in Egypt for years, could not tolerate democracy for a year. We have seen that the Egyptian people were perfectly capable of managing democratic rule. We have seen that the real problem came from those who did not believe that the Egyptian people deserved democracy. The West, which has championed democracy for years, has sided with the [Sissi] military coup in Egypt."
2-From today’s Iranian press
NUCLEAR TALKS: Hard-line Keyhan is bitter: "The fuss in the media and political circles suggest that the talks will work miracles. However, those attending meetings in Camp David, New York, Geneva, Muscat and Vienna gradually started to come back to their senses. Foreign Minister Zarif says that we do not trust the U.S., but what is taking place in reality is the opposite of this correct principle. Today, no one doubts that America is engaged in sabotage; it has betrayed us and broken its promises many times in various locations."
Conservative Hemayat seeks clarity: "The latest round of nuclear talks was pursued by America in an unseemly manner as part of the strategy for continuing sanctions and threats alongside the negotiations. We should, therefore, clearly designate our red lines as articulated by the Supreme Leader and not retreat one bit. It will benefit the other side if there are any ambiguous phrases in the agreement, which may be taken advantage of in the future. As the Supreme Leader said, America cannot be trusted. Vague avowals in the Lausanne Statement - like the Western side's assertion that under future agreements Iran will be told how to act at Fordow - must be corrected as soon as possible."
Conservative Khorasan counsels steadfastness: "The remarks and tone of Iranian officials involved in the talks indicate that in the last phase leading to a nuclear agreement, the Americans are constantly changing their demands and positions. Our nuclear team should stick to our red lines and not retreat from them under any circumstances; they should not give in to U.S. threats and pressures. They should not worry that strong stances against threats and pressure will damage the talks. 37 years of experience have shown that the other side will think Iran is weak and will increase its greed, threats and pressure if we do not confront their threats directly and strongly. Under such circumstances, not only we cannot expect a 'good deal', rather we should expect the 'failure' of the talks."
MAJLIS BILL TO SUSPEND NUCLEAR TALKS: Reformist E'temad is outraged: "The way the signatures of MPs to the bill were obtained is dubious. The collection of these signatures was done in an immoral and unusual way. Changes in the text caused the discontent and revulsion of many MPs. Some forces are ready to resort to any inappropriate manner to hinder the most important national project. Is it possible that a few MPs resort to such tricks in order to oppose national dialogue? The move was not only immoral but also irrational."
CAMP DAVID SUMMIT: Conservative Quds reflects: "The Camp David summit and its outcome indicate that the U.S., contrary to what it pretends, does not want to reduce disputes and challenges with Tehran. Washington insists that diplomacy is the only way to stop Iran from producing nuclear weapons and to ensure long-term regional security. However, it continues to support the military and tension-creating policies and activities of its Arab allies at the same time. Moreover, the U.S. seeks new military and intelligence arrangements with the GCC in order to change the regional security balance. At Camp David, Barack Obama, contrary to GCC expectations, avoided signing a security and military treaty with these countries and confined himself to a verbal commitment of American support to ensure their security."
Moderate Iran explains: "The main topics of the summit were Iran's nuclear programme and the fear of its increasing power and influence in the region. The Obama administration has been under pressure to reach a nuclear deal and is criticized for helping Iran regain power in the region by the lifting of sanctions. Obama seeks to allay the security concerns of regional Arab countries and make the nuclear deal with Iran more acceptable. He wants to attract the attention of old regional allies and to open new ways for a long-term U.S. presence in the region."
U.S. GLOBAL STRATEGY: Reformist Arman considers the global U.S. strategic move: "The Americans have to convince other regional players of the changes in their policies regarding the nuclear issue, their recognition of the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities and that sanctions should be lifted. The Zionist regime, Saudi Arabia and to some extent Turkey have reacted negatively to this change of strategy and policy towards Iran by immersing the Middle East in chaos. By expressing their fury, they hope to force America to stop the swing in its global strategy. Shifting the centre of gravity of U.S. global policy from the Middle East to the Far East will have dramatic global political, security, military and economic impact. A more active China from the East and France from the West in Middle East affairs is visible and worth considering."
TARGETING IRAN: Hard-line Javan finds enemies everywhere: "The concern among Arabs over Iran's regional policies is similar to the concerns of the West and the Zionists regarding Iran's foreign policy. This common worry has led to a three-sided front against the Islamic Republic, with the West led by America, the Zionists led by Israel and some Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia."
INTEREST RATES: Centrist Jomhuri-ye Eslami calls for more competition in the money market: "As some experts had predicted, determining the rates of interest by the money and credit council did not put an end to the chaos of the last several months; rather, it was the beginning of fresh disagreements. These disagreements reflect structural problems in the economy and the banking system. Iranian governmental banks do not follow the productivity principle in their conduct; in other words, the final cost of money is very high at these banks. Banks should be allowed to compete with one another so that non-productive banks would bring down the cost of money. Only in this way it can be hoped that loans will be available at lower rates."
DEATH SENTENCE FOR EGYPTIAN EX-PRESIDENT: Reformist Sharq writes about Sissi's goal in the Mursi verdict: "The Cairo Court's sentence against ousted President Mohamed Mursi is for dramatic and publicity purposes and cannot be implemented. The goal of Sissi's government is to intimidate Muslim Brotherhood supporters and pacify them until they give up the fight against the regime."
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