MIDEAST MIRROR 31.10.18, SECTION C (TURKEY & IRAN)
From today’s Turkish press
LOCAL ELECTIONS: Oral Calislar evaluates the upcoming Ankara local elections' race in centrist tabloid Posta: "We are witnessing one of the most critical rounds in the chess game of politics. President Erdogan does not want to lose Ankara. According to the available data, the race for the Ankara municipality will be very close. In the March 2014 elections, AKP [Justice and Development Party] candidate Melih Gokcek, garnered 1.417 million votes, while CHP [main opposition Republican People's Party] candidate Mansur Yavas won 1.385 million, i.e. with only 35,000 difference between them. It is easy to say that if Gokcek shifts and becomes the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] candidate, the chances of an AKP loss will increase."
Ahmet Kaya strikes a hopeful note in pro-Kurdish opposition Yeni Yasam: "The meetings that have begun between the Kurdish parties before the local elections have taken a positive course. I have been witness to these meetings on behalf of the Human and Freedom Party. Those who give importance to solidarity, dialogue, and cooperation between the Kurdish parties should know that what we have seen so far is much more positive and advanced than ever before. Unless there is some serious unexpected trouble, and if everyone behaves responsibly and acts with a high degree of consciousness, we are very likely to secure the desired result."
Mehmet Barlas notes the president's appreciation of loyalty in pro-government Sabah: "President Erdogan's assessment of former Ankara mayor Melih Gokcek at yesterday's AKP meeting revealed something very important about his approach, which everyone knows but is forgotten from time to time. Loyalty is one of the most important values for Erdogan, who said of Melih Gokcek that 'he has been my companion since 1994.' Getting to know Erdogan makes it easier to understand contemporary Turkish politics."
NATIONALISM: Sonar Polat wonders what is holding the nationalists back in left-wing opposition Aydinlik: "Those who want to align Kemalism with the West should first look in the mirror! Where do you stand today in relation to NATO and the EU? What do you think about the EU project that will hand over sovereignty to Brussels? At a time when nationalism is at rise and nationalist parties are gaining ground everywhere in the world, what possible reason is there for them to head downwards in Turkey? At a time when Turkey faces major challenges and threats, when PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] terror is out of control, why does the nationalist structure seem unable to make a big leap forward?"
Enver Aysever searches for a new Kemalism in nationalist opposition Cumhuriyet: "Let it be known that Erdogan will allow nothing but his own ideology. It is extremely important to note that the government is now handling the October 29th Republic Day celebrations because we have to think about what are celebrating, what kind of a motherland we aspire to, and what kind of a future we dream about. Another major danger arises from a Kemalism that is severed from its revolutionary roots, linked to global imperialism, and degraded to a way of life that ultimately plays into the AKP's hands. Today, we need to revive the revolutionary Republic."
SYRIA/KURDS: Fadime Ozcan detects a message to Washington in pro-government Star: "The state-funded Anadolu Agency has reported that the Turkish Armed forces have struck at PKK/YPG [Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units] bases in Mor Zaghar region along the 'Ain al-Arab/Kobane border in Syria. Furthermore, speaking to the AKP's parliamentary group meeting yesterday, the president repeated that there could be another operation East of Euphrates any moment. This message was surely not addressed to the PKK/PYD [Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party] but to its owner: In other words, to the U.S., which has fallen so low as to support a terror organization."
Iran media watch
'ECONOMIC TERRORISM': Iran "slammed U.S. sanctions and economic terrorism against Tehran as part of Washington's psychological war against the Iranian nation", English-language Press TV reported. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, "Tehran's battle against terrorism to restore peace and stability in the region foiled a U.S. scheme". Qassemi rejected U.S. claims about the country's economic situation. His remarks came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Tweet that Iran's economy declined 3.6 percent due to Tehran's support of the Syrian regime.
'ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT': Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has dismissed accusations that Iran was allegedly involved in an assassination attempt on an opposition activist in Denmark, rolling news channel IRINN and Channel One (IRTV1) report. According to IRINN, following the "claim", Denmark recalled its ambassador to Tehran for consultations. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked the Danish government for its "anti-Iran action", the channel said.
ARBA'EEN: Reports on the return of Iranian pilgrims from Iraq dominated news coverage in Iranian newspapers and domestic broadcast media. According to reports, about two million Iranian pilgrims took part in Arba'een rallies held in the city of Karbala on 30 October. Hardline Keyhan estimated that 20 million pilgrims from around the world were in Karbala for the event. "Another epic on Arba'een," reformist Aftab-e Yazd's front-page headline read. "Ideal of the United Nations," har-line Vatan-e Emruz's caption over a large photo of the massive Arba'een ceremony said.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Persian-language social media users continue to ask for the release of arrested truck drivers using. Over 4,000 Tweets were used to show support for the drives. "Iranian truck drivers are still in prison because of the strike, they need our help," wrote one. "Solidarity with truckers is the duty of every Iranian," wrote another. One user by "expressing his support for the truckers in the strike", asked "international and human rights communities for action to release the arrested". Lorry drivers went on strike on 22 September in protest over the government's failure to meet their demands. According to an unofficial tally at least 170 people have been arrested since the beginning of the strikes; some of those detained have been threatened with execution on "banditry" charges.