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MIDEAST MIRROR 06.11.18, SECTION C (TURKEY & IRAN)

 

From today’s Turkish press

 

U.S. MIDTERM ELECTIONS: Ismail Kaplan maintains that the U.S. is facing the moment of truth in pro-government Turkiye: "There are elections in the U.S. today for one-third of the House of Representatives and the full Senate. In other words, this is a very important test for U.S. President Trump. If the Democrats maintain their 49 seats and add one more, they will win a majority in the Senate, and the opportunity to impeach Trump based on allegations that he committed 'treason, bribery, etc.' will be on the cards. Now, let us see: What kind of gains and losses the Iran embargo will bring Trump? That is the moment of truth..."

Zulal Kalkandelen believes that the Americans have been motivated to vote in nationalist opposition Cumhuriyet: "Two weeks prior to the 2016 elections, only one-third of the Americans thought their votes would be counted correctly. Then, there were the allegations that Russians had interfered in the elections. It is not easy to convince people to vote under such circumstances. However, the hatred towards Trump in some parts of society is so great that some say they would no longer be friends with those who fail to vote. In the end, polarization in society and the desire to get rid of Trump seem to have worked."

 

U.S./RUSSIA/MIDDLE EAST: Deniz Gokce notes Russia's growing role in the Middle East at Washington's expense in pro-government Aksam: "In May, the U.S. announced it would prevent Iran's oil sales. Under those circumstances, Russia and Saudi Arabia brought down oil prices. When U.S. restrictions on Iranian oil sales proved to be invalid, this added to Russia's prestige in the Middle East, due to its role as an influential country and because of the agreements between Moscow and Iran and Syria's support. It is still unclear what the U.S. can do at this point!"

 

OPPOSITION POLITICS: Oral Calislar takes aim at the opposition in centrist tabloid Posta: "The opposition's way of acting is also problematic in Turkey. Its prevailing rhetoric refers to the government as worse than an enemy. It is impossible to say that this fury-filled language genuinely reflects tough opposition, and what is striking is the prevalence of a mood that can best be summed up as, 'We wish the economy would go down, that there was a coup and chaos, and that country would be derailed, so that we can be saved from the government'."

Musa Piroglu calls for a new form of struggle in pro-Kurdish opposition Yeni Yasam: "The naked truth is that if the left continues as it is, Erdogan's 15-year government will face no obstacle. Nobody has the right to be carried away by the unnecessary optimism that international relations and the economic crisis could topple the presidency. It has become obligatory to create a structure that could awaken the class movement and the masses that have no option but to struggle due to the pressure. This is a responsibility that cannot be delayed until tomorrow." 

Sabahattin Onkibar paints a grim picture for the opposition in ultra-nationalist opposition Aydinlik: "MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] Chair Devlet Bahceli and CHP [main opposition Republican People's Party] Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu have guaranteed Erdogan's victory even in the 2023 elections by their mere existence. So, you may ask, what about after 2023? The period of [Erdogan's] son-in-law [Treasury and Economy Minister] Berat Albayrak will begin, until God knows when. I am neither a pessimist nor a doomsayer; I am just letting everyone know in advance. You will all see; after the March 2019 local elections, Turkey will be officially – not de facto – an AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] state."

 

Iran media watch

 

SANCTIONS: Iranian President Hassan Rowhani's comments yesterday on U.S. sanctions were a leading topic in today's press. He was speaking to Economy Ministry staff shortly after the U.S. administration imposed a wide range of fresh sanctions on Iran. "We will overcome the sanctions", official Iran daily and hardline Javan quoted Rowhani as saying in their front-page headlines. Moderate Qanun wrote: "We must overcome the sanctions and we will do so." Pro-reform Mardom Salari, Arman, and Hamdeli quoted Rowhani as saying that Iran will negotiate with the U.S. only "if it respects its own promises". Centrist Jomhuri-e Eslami quoted Rowhani as saying, "We will defeat Trump like we did Saddam", an allusion to the 1980-88 war with Iraq. Meanwhile, broadcast media highlighted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi's comment that "nothing new will happen". Araqchi said that the only country supporting the new U.S. sanctions is Israel and that this means Iran will overcome this obstacle.

 

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS: English-language Press TV only reported about the sanctions in the second half of its morning newscasts and instead led with regional developments in Yemen, the Palestinian, and Egypt. "The UN Chief's Spokesman Stephane Dujarric has expressed concern over the escalation of fights in al-Hudaydah and the humanitarian crisis," Press TV reported.

 

AIR DEFENSE DRILL: Iran is holding an air defense drill titled "Defenders of the Sky of Guardianship 97". The war game is being held with the collaboration of Khatam al-Anbia (The Last Prophet) Air Defense Force, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC's) Air Force, and the Army's Air Force in an area spanning over 500,000 square kilometers. Rolling news channel IRINN showed the Iranian Army's Deputy Commander Habibollah Sayyari saying that all weapons and equipment used in the drill are domestically manufactured. Channel One showed another army commander Rear Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi saying that air defense systems downed all drones with "almost 100 percent precision".

 

SOCIAL MEDIA: Contrary to signals sent by print and broadcast media showing Iran's rhetoric in overcoming the sanctions, social media users expressed their concern about their potential impact. Thousands of Iranians expressed shock at the scale of the sanctions that target 50 banks and their subsidiaries, the nation's flagship carrier Iran Air, and 200 members of the shipping industry and vessels. More than 700 individuals, entities, vessels, and aircraft are now on the sanctions list. "Do you know what this predicament means? It means the regime will not change its policies without sanctions and with the sanctions we will be adversely affected," a user Tweeted, sharing a similar sentiment with many Iranians.