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From today’s Turkish press


LOCAL ELECTIONS: Ahmet Hakan hazards a prediction in centre-right Hurriyet: "It may happen this way or that, create a big fuss, or spread many names and much speculation around, but I bet that the outlook will be thus in the end: In Istanbul, the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] will join the race with its parliamentary chair Binali Yildirim, or with deputy chairman Numan Kurtulmus. The CHP [main opposition Republican People's Party] will join the race with its former presidential candidate Muharrem Ince. In Ankara, the AKP will join the race with interior minister Suleyman Soylu, and CHP will run with Mansur Yavas. Let us mark these names out as our favourites and wait."

Guven Gurkan Oztan sees an opportunity to strengthen secularism in leftist opposition Birgun: "There are dozens of opportunities to stop Islamism, which has lost its ideological appeal. Rather than a strategy to take over the highest echelons of the state, another success story should be grounded locally, stemming from people's tangible issues. All of Turkey needs this success story, not only Ankara and Istanbul. Let us not forget that social municipality management in its true sense can help to downgrade political Islam, while also serving to strengthen the struggle for secularism at its base."

Hasmet Babaoglu demands respect for the new political regime in pro-government Sabah: "If parliament is democratic, national, and independent, it must acknowledge that the resistance against the July 15th 2016 coup attempt is sacred, and should act accordingly. A rhetoric that casts doubt over those who the defeated the coup plotters cannot be allowed beneath parliament's roof. It is clear on which side those who do have taken their positions: There is no point hemming and hawing! This parliament, together with the fact that it came after July 15th and the transition to a presidential system, embodies the special characteristic of a 'founding' institution."


TURKEY/U.S./SYRIA: Kurtulus Tayiz maintains that Ankara has outmaneuvered Washington in Northern Syria in pro-government Aksam: "Turkey's military and diplomatic moves in Syria have cornered the U.S. further each day, thereby limiting Washington's ability to maneuver. As Ankara escalates its pressure West of the Euphrates, its pressure on the river's Eastern banks is also being more strongly felt. Taking the Brunson crisis as an excuse, the Pentagon sought to cover up the promises it made to Ankara regarding Manbij in Syria and East of the Euphrates. However, Ankara managed to overcome this artificial crisis quickly, and sought to focus on real issues with the U.S. And Turkey has succeeded in resolving the Brunson crisis and elevating Manbij and East of the Euphrates as the primary issue on the agenda that calls for a resolution."


U.S. MIDTERM ELECTIONS: Ergin Yildizoglu contemplates the potential course of tomorrow's midterm U.S. congressional elections in opposition nationalist Cumhuriyet: "The results of the U.S. elections will not only affect the future of the people of the country, but also the peoples of the entire world. If the results go in one direction, there is going to be a chance to dismiss the racist, LGBT-hostile Trump who withdrew from vital agreements such as the Paris Climate agreement, the mid-range nuclear missile agreement with Russia, and who launched trade wars. If they go in another direction, fascism will soar while strengthening the prospects of a 'Great War' in the international arena."


VOCATIONAL EDUCATION: Faruk Cakir proclaims the virtues of vocational training in pro-Islamist opposition Yeni Asya: "Is vocational education not the first step towards advanced technology? How can we explain that vocational schools are not considered a matter of state interest and that they are not given the necessary importance and attention? It should be noted that according to a recent survey, vocational schools have the highest non-attendance rates. Is this how we are going to take further steps in our advanced technology and research and development?"


Iran media watch


AIR DEFENSE DRILLS: A two-day air defense drill dubbed "Defenders of the Sky of Guardianship 97" started this morning. The military exercise is held jointly by Khatam al-Anbia (The Last Prophet) Air Defense Force, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Air Force, and the Army's Air Force. State radio VIRI said the drills are carried out in an area stretched over 500,000 square kilometers in the North, East and West of the country.


NEW ECONOMIC OFFICIALS: This morning President Hassan Rowhani met the newly appointed Economy Minister Farhad Dejpasand, his deputies and other officials at the ministry. Rolling news channel IRINN and English-language Press TV broadcasted his speech live.


ANTI-U.S. RALLIES: The anti-U.S. rallies of yesterday dominated Iranian media today. Most newspapers put photos of the nationwide demonstrations on their front pages and highlighted the coincidence of the U.S. embassy seizure anniversary with the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions. Reformist Ebtekar published a photo of a woman's hands with "Death to America" painted on them under the headline "Death to America on American sanctions day". Government-run Iran said the rallies were a "response to sanctions on the embassy seizure anniversary", while business daily Tejarat and conservative Hemayat spoke of a "crushing response" to Trump and his sanctions. Hardline Quds highlighted "40 years of Death to America", and Vatan-e Emruz published a collage of the rallies' under the headline: "Smacking Trump in the face". Channel One (IRTV1) reported on foreign media coverage of the rallies.


ANTI-TERROR BILL: Several newspapers covered the Guardian Council's announcement yesterday that it had turned down a bill on Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) passed by Parliament. "The Guardian Council found over 20 faults in the CFT Convention," the council's secretary said yesterday. He added that the bill was sent back to the Majlis after the council found out that "those faults include ambiguities and cases of non-compliance with Sharia law and the Constitution". "CFT rejected," read a banner headline on reformist Aftab-e Yazd's front page. The daily said the Guardian Council's move was unexpected since the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has given the Islamic Republic until February 2019 to complete changes to legislature regarding money laundering and terrorism financing. Reformist Ebtekar also wrote of "risks of failing to ratify CFT". Business daily Eqtesad-e Melli ran the headline "back to square one", while pro-reform Bahar questioned the timing of the council's announcement, which came on the day of anti-U.S. rallies. Hardline Keyhan lauded the bill's rejection under the headline "People and Guardian Council's slap in America's face".


TALKS WITH SCANDINAVIANS: The Iranian Foreign Ministry hosted the Norwegian and Swedish ambassadors to Tehran and Denmark's charge d'affaires for talks over recent murder plot accusations against the Islamic Republic.


U.S. MIDTERM ELECTIONS: Press TV reported that President Donald Trump had attended a rally in the U.S. state of Georgia ahead of the midterm elections where he warned about "migrants' invasion". Elsewhere, at a rally for Democrats in Indiana, former President Barack Obama said that Republicans in control of the White House and Congress have "racked up enough indictments to field a football team," said the channel.


SOCIAL MEDIA: Iranian users on Twitter have been reacting to the CFT bill's rejection by the Guardian Council. CFT in English has been mentioned over 3,000 times by users, who have largely condemned the council's move in light of the new U.S. sanctions. One user said the council's move on the day anti-U.S. rallies were held was "a present to Trump". Others highlighted the negative impact of the Guardian Council's move on Tehran's stock exchange market. 'Sattar Beheshti' has been used over 7,000 times over the past few days as Iranian anti-regime users post Tweets on the anniversary of the death of Sattar Beheshti, an Iranian blogger who died in November 2012 a few days after being arrested by the Cyber Police unit for criticizing the Islamic establishment on Facebook.