MIDEAST MIRROR 07.05.15, SECTION C (TURKEY & IRAN)
1-From today’s Turkish press
JUNE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS/KURDISH PEACE PROCESS: Dogan Heper ponders the uncertainty of politics in centrist Milliyet: "This election may produce a result different to that of the past. Which party or parties will come to power remains unclear, as are the chances that the promises the leaders have made will be fulfilled. For example, if he fails to receive 35 per cent of the votes, will CHP (main opposition Republican People's Party) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu resign as he has said, or will he stay in his post, making up various excuses? The great majority wants the HDP [pro-Kurdish leftist alliance] to pass the 10% electoral threshold and enter parliament; but will that happen? What is interesting is that the great majority wants to see the HDP in parliament, although they will vote for other parties."
Writing in the same paper, Ergun Babahan argues that President Erdogan is disconnected from reality: "The AKP’s [ruling Justice and Development Party’s] real aim is not peace or turning Turkey into a democratic country, but staying in power and looting. That is why they want the HDP to remain under the electoral threshold. They are preventing the HDP delegation from meeting PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] leader Abdullah Ocalan in Imrali prison. The AKP's bright era has long been over; its era of regression has begun. This is a fact that they will try to suppress with different tactics but will have difficulty doing so. The problem is that Erdogan has lost his connection to reality."
Mustafa Balbay detects a sweeping sense of popular anger in secular, Kemalist Cumhuriyet: "One could say that the agenda of the people and that of politics have coincided to a great extent because the CHP has focused its election manifesto on the economy, and other parties have followed suit. The empire of fear that the AKP wanted to establish has collapsed. However, it is clear that many other anxieties have appeared instead. On the streets, in the market places, city centres and even in the parks where people do their morning exercises, the strongest feeling is anger."
Sahin Alpay accuses the ruling party of pursuing a witch hunt against the Gulen movement in moderate, pro-Islamic, pro-Gulen Zaman: "Incredibly, the AKP is accusing Fethullah Gulen, who represents the most respectful approach of Islam to different faiths, of being a 'terrorist' in order to remain in power. Or to put it more accurately, President Erdogan is doing this in order to fulfil his desire to create a presidential system. For that purpose, the AKP is taking the MGK [National Security Council], which is the basic tool of military tutelage and the ‘Red Book’ that determines the main threats against the Republic of Turkey in tow. It is inciting hatred against the Gulen Movement and is pursuing a witch hunt against it."
Mehmet Metiner charges the Kurds’ political movement with bad faith in centre-right, pro-government Star: "There cannot be weapons on one hand, and politics on the other. Trying to secure a political result with the help of force is not consistent with the spirit of the peace process. Apparently, this process means nothing to Kandil [PKK northern Iraq leadership] and the HDP. There is no equivalent to Ocalan's determination that the 'era of armed struggle has ended' and the call 'to lay down arms' on the Kandil and HDP side. This is because Kandil does not intend to lay down arms. And for its political survival, the HDP sees Kandil's arms as a sine qua non."
Markar Esayan sees the HDP playing a double game in moderate, pro-Islamic, pro-government Yeni Safak: "The HDP is not a Kurdish party anymore. It can deceive the youngsters. The Kurdish citizens among us in the West might sense the joy of the credibility that the AKP has gained after 150 years, and feel sympathy for the HDP that has an ethnic tendency. However, the conservative Kurds in the east and southeast know very well what they faced on October 6-7 2013 [pro-PKK street riots] due to the government's allegedly ignoring ISIS pressure on the Syrian Kurds and the kind of pressure they are still under. That is why, the HDP is submitting the election issue to the PKK in the southeast, and playing the democracy game in the West."
Hasan Cemal laments the state of the nation independent Internet newspaper T24: "What does our constitution say? It says that the president is not a member of any party; he/she is neutral. What Erdogan does every single day is a violation of the constitution! Besides, he does not hide this 'constitutional crime'. He has confessed himself that 'he has kept the constitution waiting'. This is a country where the police do not listen to the attorneys. We have a country where the attorneys do not care about court verdicts. We are living in a country where judges are being imprisoned due to their court verdicts."
2-From today’s Iranian press
NUCLEAR TALKS: Reformist E'temad is defiant: "In next week's nuclear talks in Vienna, our team should convey the Supreme Leader's message to the American side and stress that continuing this process to no end is not an option and Iran is not willing to remain at the table. The American side should understand that our dignity and national sovereignty is more important than any agreement or lifting of sanctions. They must understand that Iran is different from any other country that they have been involved in negotiations with. The 35-year history of the Islamic Republic proves that America does not have much power against us. Only through balanced negotiations, a win-win outcome could possibly be reached while preserving dignity and mutual respect. It would be better for the Americans to break their habits and avoid pursuing imprudent behaviour."
Centrist Jomhuri-ye Eslami has not given up: "In the coming two months, if the other side does not indulge in irrational behaviour and selfish demands, there is a high likelihood of reaching an agreement that can clear the international atmosphere from the imposed crisis fabricated by the West."
Conservative Khorasan presents its strategy for reaching a deal: "When the American president, his vice president and secretary of state brazenly speak about military threats during talks, Iran should also react aggressively. These threats, although unrealistic and with political goals, show that we should not have any doubt about improving our defence capabilities. If the Americans understand that military threats will have no result, it is due to our exemplary defence capacity. Therefore, our power should be boosted and threat and humiliation should be confronted with threat and humiliation so that conditions for a good deal are provided."
Hard-line Javan sets the bottom line: "The nuclear issue and negotiations should be a national subject; partisan judgement should be avoided. The Iranian nation has been stressing its nuclear rights for more than a decade. The most severe economic sanctions in history were imposed, but we moved forward irrespective with dignity and honour. The expectation from the government is not to ignore our rights, interests and independence at the negotiation table under any condition."
Conservative Hemayat warns: "As nuclear negotiations get closer to the final phase, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice-President Joe Biden have made military threats against Iran with insulting words to help them with their excessive demands in the negotiations. In American vocabulary, negotiations mean surrender and the imposition of their ideas on other countries. Nations' rights are unimportant for the U.S.. They should know, however, that countries will not abandon their rights and will defend them."
Conservative Quds references the Supreme Leader’s remarks: "The Supreme Leader's remarks yesterday once again stress that the Iranian nation will stand against the excessive demands of enemies, in particular, Americans. In contrast to Western allegations, sanctions did not persuade Iran to negotiate. The Supreme Leader has always clearly announced his stance towards the negotiations. Iran will not allow anyone to even think about invasion. If anyone does so, they should know that they will endanger their interests in the entire world."
UK ELECTIONS: Conservative Resalat writes of tricky Cameron: "British Prime Minister David Cameron has devised a complex puzzle for UK elections. The country faces one of the most unpredictable polls in its modern history. Cameron has promised that in case of victory, he will renegotiate with Brussels, especially on immigration, and a referendum will be held in 2017. This political trick is aimed at the supporters of the Labour Party, UKIP and the Liberal Democrats. Currently, political calculations favour Cameron."
Conservative Siyasat-e Ruz is not optimistic about Cameron’s prospects: "Conservative Party Leader David Cameron has led a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats for four years. He now faces serious challenges that could result in his defeat and removal from the political scene. His government has not managed to fulfil economic promises and satisfy the British people. There are suggestions that the country's economic situation is worsening."
SAUDI ATTACKS ON YEMEN: Hard-line Keyhan explains: "Intoxicated with the smell of oil and money, Saudis believe the illusion that everything can be purchased. The force that was hired for the war in Yemen is a clear example. What is the real reason that some African and Asian countries that do not have any commonalities with Saudi Arabia are joining in to fight the barefooted Yemenis? Poverty and financial dependence is the common reason for all these countries. In almost all the serious confrontations in history between Yemenis and Saudis, Saudi Arabia has been defeated. What is the reason of their ineptitude? Look for a hired army, purchased politicians and people without passion."
Reformist Sharq is concerned that next stop will be Syria: "If the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen succeeds and achieves its goals, Saudi Arabia and its allies may be encouraged to repeat such experience in other parts of the Middle East, particularly in Syria. The rapprochement of Iran's three regional rivals; Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar since the beginning of the Yemeni crisis confirms this speculation. The Huffington Post reports that Turkey and Saudi Arabia with Qatar's mediation have begun negotiations to create a military coalition with the aim of overthrowing the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. According to an official participating in these talks, if the negotiations between Riyadh and Ankara are successful and yield results, the military intervention in Syria will be executed regardless of U.S. support."
ECONOMIC PROSPECTS: Moderate Iran foresees the end of sanctions: "The new chapter of Indian investment in Iran's infrastructure along with the new phase in relations with Russia, the promotion of Iran-China cooperation, the expansion of regional ties with neighbouring countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus demonstrate that the Iranian government is not relying on the outcome of the nuclear talks with the West. These developments also prove that the wall of sanctions has already cracked regardless of the outcome of the nuclear talks."
Reformist Arman lists some of the needed measures for best use of foreign economic ties: "In order to expand economic and trade ties with foreign countries, officials of the government of prudence and hope [Hassan Rowhani's government] should adopt appropriate and thoughtful policies; the private sector should be consulted to fully use opportunities and the banking system should provide the necessary tools to expand economic ties."
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