MIDEAST MIRROR 01.11.18, SECTION C (TURKEY & IRAN)
From today’s Turkish press
SYRIAN SETTLEMENT: Sedat Ergin laments the slow progress towards a Syrian settlement in center-right Hurriyet: "The key person is UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura. Mistura, whose term of office is due to end this month, has extended the list of 50 people to join the talks that he has prepared after long consultations with the Assad regime. He was actually in Damascus last week to discuss this list. But Syria has rejected this list. So summits are convening to underline the need for a diplomatic solution, on the one hand, but the process has made a painful start, on the other."
LOCAL ELECTIONS: Mehmet Acet deciphers the rumors emanating from the ruling party's current ally in pro-government Yeni Safak: "I wonder whether the rumors spreading from the halls of the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] that they are considering nominating Melih Gokcek for the mayor of Ankara and Bedrettin Dalan for Istanbul, are intended as a message to the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party], rather than a genuine candidate announcement? As far as we can understand it, the MHP leader has made these statements in the belief that the AKP is unwilling to form an electoral alliance and is unwilling to continue the talks."
Mehmet Barlas poses an unanswerable question in pro-government Sabah: "Is Eskisehir Mayor Yilmaz Buyukersen not one of the people who is considered to be the future, despite actually representing the past? Would the magic of his name not be destroyed if Melih Gokcek, who served as Ankara mayor for over 20 years, goes back to square one and becomes another party's candidate for the Eskisehir Municipality in upcoming local elections?"
THE ECONOMY: Can Atakli accuses the Central Bank of playing politics in opposition Korkusuz: "Turkey's inflation rate was previously estimated to go down to 9.3 percent in 2019 and 6.7 percent in 2020. Yesterday, however, the Central Bank said its inflation expectations had gone up to 23.5 percent. According to the bank's calculations that often make projections that are proven to be false by a wide margin, it would not be surprising if the inflation rate were to go higher than 30 percent. It seems like the Central Bank is making all kinds of reason-defying calculations in the hope of proving Erdogan right, and is coming up with more unrealistic estimates."
Fikri Saglar blames the ruling party for the country's economic woes in leftist opposition Birgun: "Turkey is currently going through the deepest economic and social crisis in its history. The AKP's populism is the reason for this economic downfall and social destruction! If this continues for much longer, Turkey is certain to face may more serious issues than those it faces today."
Iran media watch
DENMARK PLOT: Iranian broadcast media today led with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's Tweet accusing Israeli intelligence of "perverse and stubborn planting of false flags" against the Islamic Republic. His comment came after reports said the Mossad intelligence service had tipped off its Danish counterpart to an alleged plot by the Islamic Republic's intelligence service to assassinate an Iranian-Arab opposition figure in Denmark. State radio VIRI quoted Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi as saying that Denmark's envoy to Tehran was summoned and informed of Iran's "repudiation of hasty political and media accusations" made by some Danish officials. Denmark had earlier recalled its ambassador to Iran for consultations. Some dailies suspected that the allegations were aimed at damaging Iran/EU relations ahead of a new round of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic scheduled to be enforced on 4 November. "Denmark's suspicious behaviour ahead of 4 November," read a headline in moderate Arman-e Emruz, while hardline daily Javan wrote: "Israelis in Denmark in support of terrorists." Another hardline daily, Keyhan, ran a report on what it called "a series of terror allegations" and opined that they were all part of "Europe's plot" to dodge its commitments regarding the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA). "Copenhagen, new piece of anti-Iranian puzzle in Europe," read reformist Mardom Salari's front-page headline.
ZARIF IN PAKISTAN: Zarif is in Pakistan to pursue the release of Iranian border guards kidnapped at a border area last month. On 15 October, Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), a militant Sunni group, abducted a number of Iranian servicemen based at a border guard station in south-eastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province and took them to a hideout in Pakistan. English-language Press TV reported on Zarif's talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan over the latest developments concerning the abducted border guards. Initial reports had said that 14 border guards were kidnapped; state media now puts the number at 12.
ROWHANI REMARKS: Several newspapers have highlighted remarks made yesterday by President Rowhani days ahead of a new round of U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic comes into effect. Pro-reform Ebtekar quoted Rowhani as saying that "America will not achieve its goals", while hardline Javan highlighted part of his speech where he said Washington was "retreating step by step" from its anti-Iran stance. Sedaye Eslahat predicted that November will be a difficult month for President Rowhani. "4 November in Iran's history is a reminder of U.S. crimes," wrote centrist Jomhouri-e Eslami quoting Rowhani, in a reference to the various occasions marked on the day, including Student Day and the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Iranian anti-regime users have launched yet another Twitter campaign (23,000 Tweets in the last day) in English, urging European countries to cut business ties with the Islamic Republic over its alleged plots to assassinate foreign-based dissidents. "The events in Denmark and France have proven that Europe's support for the Islamic Republic actually means protecting terrorism," one user wrote.