MIDEAST MIRROR 9.10.18, SECTION C (TURKEY & IRAN)
From today’s Turkish press
KHASHOGGI AFFAIR: Hasan Basri Yalcin calls for caution in pro-government Sabah: "This incident came at a time when U.S. President Trump was threatening the Saudis. If the story of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's execution is true and is confirmed, Saudi dependence on Trump will increase. Turkey is being cautious. Committing such a crime is bad on its own. The fact that it has been committed in Turkey is even more unsettling. However, matters should not be rushed. There is a legal process. There will be an investigation. If the Saudis have done something illegal, this will be handled accordingly. However, let us see first. What will Trump tell the [Saudi] king and his crown prince whom he loves so much? Let us wait and see."
Resul Tosun reviews the legal niceties in pro-government Star: "According to the Vienna Convention, diplomatic personnel have full immunity and cannot be arrested, tried, or sentenced for crimes committed in their country of assignment. They are not only exempt from giving testimony, but also cannot be forced to stand as a witness. Turkey cannot try the Saudi consul general, but it can declare him 'persona non grata' and ask him to leave the country within 48 hours! Turkish–Saudi relations will then be handled in a wholly different manner. Turkey is not an unlawful passageway!"
MCKINSEY CRISIS: Oral Calislar has advice for the opposition in centrist tabloid Posta: "True the 'row' with the West is based on partially legitimate grounds. However, the criteria of human rights and democracy (as formulated by the West) are universal. So is the mathematics of the markets. If distanced from these norms, the people pay the price. Would the opposition not handle the McKinsey [international management consultancy firm] crisis better by posing questions such as 'Why cause tensions in our relations with the West?' 'Why not abide by the universal rules of the economy?"
Ali Sirmen warns of a political crisis to follow the economic crisis in nationalist opposition Cumhuriyet: "There is nothing surprising here. By deepening the political crisis and taking it to a new level, the economic crisis has also finally allowed the will of the ballot box, which has been unprotected until now, to come to the fore. Who can guarantee that mass arrests of opponents accused of treachery will not follow dysfunction at the ballot box? Yes, economic crises never ride alone."
Cevher Ilhan seeks an answer in pro-Islamist opposition Yeni Asya: "The most striking thing was that President Erdogan has ordered the McKinsey deal to be cancelled just nine days after it was announced, as if he had just heard about it. At this point, these questions come to mind: Did the related minister strike a deal with McKinsey in the U.S. without the president's consent? Is this how the new political system going to function, and why did the president wait for nine days to react? These questions, which were lost in the McKinsey jumble, await an answer."
LOCAL ELECTIONS: Ihasan Caralan fears for democracy in leftist opposition Evrensel: "Now, in a step further six months ahead of the local elections, the people's will is being mortgaged to the president's declaration that those assigned to manage the municipalities as a result of the votes cast with the free will of the people 'will be removed from office and replaced by appointed administrators'. This threat is directed against the HDP [pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party] but is also primarily a sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the CHP [main opposition Republican people's Party] and other opposition parties!"
Iran media watch
IRAN/U.S. TALKS: Reformist and moderate newspapers featured Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's remarks few days ago that did not rule out talks with the U.S. "Nothing is impossible," Zarif told the BBC 's Lyse Doucet in an interview in New York. Reformist-leaning Sharq, Abrar, Bahar, Mardom Salari, as well as the hardline Afkar published similar front-page headlines alongside prominent photos of Zarif.
FATF: The Iranian parliament's approval of a bill on Sunday that aims to facilitate Iran's membership in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) continues to dominate headlines. "First the JCPOA [nuclear deal], now FATF; what is the next excuse?" wrote hardline daily Keyhan, criticizing the government for claiming that signing of the nuclear accord in 2015 and joining FATF will help ease economic woes. Reformist and moderate newspapers widely reported on hardline political figure Khalil Movahedi's confession to orchestrating threatening text messages to MPs from Mashhad, the political hub of hardliners, warning them to vote against FATF-related bills. "You voted? I'll kill you!" read moderate daily Jomleh's large headline.
SWIFT: English language Press TV reported an "internal battle" being fought in the U.S. administration to save Iran's access to international financial markets and keep it connected to the SWIFT global payment network ahead of the looming sanctions.
SAUDI COLUMNIST'S DISAPPEARANCE: Saudi Columnist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance remains a top topic in Iranian media. State-run broadcast media highlighted that President Trump did not mention the Saudi authorities' role in the case, as he expressed concern over the disappearance. Some Iranian newspapers also continue to discuss the issue. "Bin Salman-style democracy," wrote conservative Siyasat-e Rooz on a blood-spattered picture of Khashoggi. "Bin Flayer," read hardline outlet Vatan-e Emruz's terse headline.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Iranian social media users launched a hashtag yesterday calling for a general anti-regime strike, at least in part in support of the ongoing intermittent strikes by Iranian truck drivers. The hashtag has been used some 45,000 times over the past 24 hours, yet many of the hits on the hashtag seem to be coming from outside the country. Roughly 7,000 accounts have engaged with the trend in some way. Some 91 percent of its reach is owed to Retweets as opposed to original content, the top accounts for which are affiliated with outlawed self-styled opposition group the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organisation (MKO). Unverified video clips of closed shops have also circulated widely, claiming to show areas of the country taking part in the strike. One user claimed that "today there have been strikes in 45 cities. Truckers have gone on strike in 318 cities. How many stadiums could all these strikes fill? This is a question that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene'i has asked himself a few times this morning." Another user, captioning a slideshow of closed shops around the country, posted: "The collapse of the regime is close at hand."