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Entries in Idris Naim Sahin (5)


Turkey Analysis: A Big Opportunity? Ankara's Talks with Imprisoned Kurdish Leader Ocalan

PM Erdogan & PKK Leader OcalanSo Turkish authorities have been speaking with the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan, since last month. Indeed, the head of the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), Hakan Fidan, visited Ocalan in his Imrali Island prison --- where he has been kept since 1999 --- for two days of one-to-one meetings. This was followed by the Erdogan Government’s high-profile if vague statements of a peaceful settlement on the Kurdish issue and by the dispatch of two experienced MPs from pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), to Imrali.

This is not the first occurrence of negotiations with Ocalan and the PKK --- two years ago, the MIT was involved in a series of meetings in Oslo. There are key differences in the recent talks, however.

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Iran Live Coverage: Tehran Picks A Fight Too Far with Turkey

See also Iran Analysis: Rafsanjani Strikes Back (and Why the Supreme Leader is Allowing It)
Wednesday's Iran Live Coverage: "Supreme Leader Ordered House Arrests of Mousavi and Karroubi"

2255 GMT: Nuclear Watch --- Retraction Edition. Earlier today, Iranian media circulated this quote from Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi indicating a possible deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency, "If external threats were defused, then they --- the IAEA could be enabled to inspect [the military facility at Parchin" (see 0925 GMT).

Somebody in the regime was none too happy with this apparent shift in the Iranian position because Qashqavi has issued a convoluted "clarification" tonight:

In my speech which I delivered in Tehran University, there are two subjects in this speech. In one of them I delivered my speech regarding national security of Iran and the other was about the nuclear issue.

One of the correspondents who was in this speech mixed two subjects from two separate issues and in his personal perception of this speech, he delivered his perception regarding this matter but in the text of my speech there was not any kind of this sentence because [there were] two separate issues which were delivered by me and there is no connection between the two matters."

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Iran Live Coverage: "Supreme Leader Ordered House Arrests of Mousavi and Karroubi"

See also The Latest from Iran (25 December): Is the Currency Falling Again?

2117 GMT: Economy Watch. Radio Zamaneh summarises the gloomy report of Parliament's Research Center, surveying 98 economic organizations over the past year, that production has fallen 40% and employment is down 36%. The downturn has been fed by price rises of 87.9% for produced goods and 112.1% for primary materials.

The Center adds that in the past year, only 50 production facilities have been established while 566 have shut down.

Meanwhile, in an example of the problems with production, 300 workers at the Fajr Petrochemical factory in Mahshahr have gone on strike protesting the lack of job security.

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The Latest from Iran (1 December): Politics, Oil, and Propaganda

See also Iran Analysis: How to Misread Ahmadinejad's Position
The Latest from Iran (30 November): An Economy in Confusion

1935 GMT: Health Watch. A Ministry of Health official has said that the Central Bank has agreed to the Ministry's request for an earmarked $2 billion for imports of medicine to cope with domestic shortages.

Amid international sanctions that have reportedly limited drugs and medical supplies, the Ministry has been criticised for mismanagement and failure to allocate funds to deal with the worsening situation.

1715 GMT: Oil Watch. India's private refiner Essar Oil increased imports of Iranian oil about 30% in October.

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Turkey Special: The Government Supports a Hyper-Nationalist --- and Threatening --- Protest

On Sunday in Taksim Square in Istanbul, there was a large demonstration organised by various NGOs, syndicates, and political parties and supported by the Turkish government. The vision was that tens of thousands of Turks would commemorate the anniversary of the Khojaly massacre, committed against Azerbaijanis by Armenian armed forces in Nagorno-Karabagh in 1992.

The reality turned out to be somewhat different.

The memorial became a charged nationalist occasion, not only emphasising Turkish and Azerbaijani identity, but also displaying hatred and racism towards Armenians and those Turkish citizens, mostly left-wing intellectuals, who have been discussing the Armenian genocide/massacre of the early 20th century.

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