Erdoğan will not be able to convince Iran
The Prime Minister is coming back tonight. The Korea summit was a platform where nuclear issues were debated, but it really functioned as a forum for multiple bilateral talks. Imagine that hundreds of leaders are together and can easily talk to each other and save time. You are wandering in the corridors and you see leaders who you could normally only contact after two or three days of effort.
I think the Turkish delegation’s visit to Iran was just as important as Korea. For two whole days, there was contact with the centers that rule that country.
Nowadays, Iran is both the biggest problem in the region and at the same time a country whose star is rising rapidly. At all costs, it is determined to stand up to the United States. This determination may cause all of us enormous trouble, but Tehran does not care about this.
There are two important issues for Erdoğan with regard to Iran. One is Syria, the other is nuclear armament. But whatever he does, there is no possibility that he will be able to convince the Iranians on both.
Before anything else, in Syria Bashar al-Assad is in control of the situation. Opposition groups are incapable of uniting. In the United States, Washington will not move a finger before the presidential elections. In other words, there is no situation that requires any hurry.
In the mid or long term, the fall of al-Assad would cause Iran to lose its influence in the region to a great extent. It would also lose its influence in Lebanon and it would be impossible for the “Shiite corridor,” which it is trying to form through alliances with Syria and Iraq, to access to the Mediterranean.
However much our Prime Minister says: “Don’t do it, do not side with that loser al-Assad,” it would go in one ear and out at the other. Iran is aware that thanks to Syria they are able to annoy the U.S. more, and also increase their own bargaining power.
Especially with Russia taking its side, Iran feels more powerful. Russians are also happy. The fact that oil prices are going up as Iran gets tougher is allowing Moscow to earn money abundantly. However, the interest of the Russians is not as large as the Iranians. A day may come when they gain a compromise in another field, and they will suddenly let go of al-Assad.
In all this turmoil, even if Erdoğan uses all his persuasive powers, I don’t think he will be able to reach a solution.
Press freedom means not closing Özgür Gündem
The state has once more been caught red-handed. It has been caught many times before, but this time it has nothing to defend itself.
I’m talking about the closure of daily Özgür Gündem. This newspaper has a policy directly opposite the official view on the Kurdish issue. It shares the views of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). According to the law, this stance means it makes propaganda of the terror organization. However, the paper actually has nothing to do with terrorism. Despite this, it is still being closed. This is the critical point where freedom of press clashes with anti-terror. If Özgür Gündem is being closed, nobody has a right to say: “There is press freedom in Turkey.” You may not like its content. In that case, you wouldn’t buy and read it. But you cannot close it.
Let’s ask the authorities to refrain from saying, as if insulting our wisdom, that there is press freedom in Turkey. They may as well make a more apropriate statement: “There is freedom in certain fields; and there is not in others. You find the ones that don’t.”