The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish Press.
TURKEY REJECTS BEING SOLE HOST OF NATO MISSILES
Turkey has reportedly refused to become the sole country housing missiles under NATO's proposed defensive shield, as Ankara presses for the deployment of the shield over the territory of all NATO allies. The decision over the issue is set to be made in a meeting of the alliance on Nov.20 in Brussels. Romania is also on the list as a host country for the NATO missiles. In case of a Turkish go-ahead, Patriot PAC-3 ballistic missiles could be deployed in Turkey's Black Sea region, as well as in the country's eastern and northeastern parts. Turkey also demands that Iran and Syria not be cited as "threats" in NATO's official documents on the planned defensive shield.
Commenting on the decision to host a single reception on Oct. 29, Republic Day, the Republican People's Party [CHP] parliamentary group deputy chairman, Muharrem İnce, said, "It will be the beginning of the use of the headscarf in the state, and we will not attend it."
CHP chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu answered the same questions from the heads of media with whom he met on Thursday night and said, "There is plenty of time until Oct. 29." Speaking to the CNN-Turk TV channel on Thursday night, İnce said: "I am still behind my remarks. If I have done wrong, the chairman can ask me to resign. I will not attend the reception. The chairman knows what we have said about the reception within our party meetings."
ISRAEL IS WARY AHEAD OF AHMADINEJAD BORDER TOUR
The Iranian president, who is on a two-day trip to Lebanon, was expected to make a controversial tour during the afternoon of the southern border region; the trip has been slammed by the United States and Israel as "provocative." "Right now we can see the stage they prepared for him, the giant portrait, where he is going to make his speech on the mountain," Haim Biton, a resident of the Israeli frontier village of Avivim, told army radio.
The border region, a stronghold of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, is often seen as the front line in a proxy war between Israel and Iran. While Israeli leaders referred to the visit as a provocation, for many people it presents a chance to glimpse the Iranian leader, a man deeply reviled in Israel for his questioning of the Nazi Holocaust and predictions of the Jewish state's demise.
"It is a provocative and destabilizng visit," foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Agence France Presse. "It appears his intentions are blatantly hostile and he is coming to play with fire." Ahmadinejad's visit is "like a landlord visiting his domain," Palmor said, while other officials said the move signified the final transformation of Israel's northern neighbor into an "Iranian client state."
Thursday's tour will see the sharp-tongued Iranian leader coming the closest he has ever been to the Jewish state, standing just four kilometers (little more than two miles) from the border as he tours villages destroyed during the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. He is set to stop in Bint Jbeil, a Hezbollah bastion devastated during the war, and in Qana, targeted in 1996 and again in 2006 by deadly Israeli air strikes.
For many, it was the sheer proximity of the Iranian leader that caught their attention. "Ahmadinejad a kilometer away," said the front page of the top-selling Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, while its rival, Maariv, ran with: "Ahmadinejad -- closer than ever." For some, the close presence of Israel's arch foe was seen as a rare opportunity not to be missed.
"Human history would have been so different if in 1939 a Jewish soldier could have killed Hitler," said Arye Eldad, a parliamentarian from the ultra-nationalist National Union party as the Iranian leader began his tour on Wednesday. "If Ahmadinejad is in the IDF's [Israeli Defence Forces] crosshairs for even one second...he cannot be allowed to return home alive," he told the Ynet news website.
Senior cabinet minister Silvan Shalom dismissed such talk. "We do not murder heads of states, even if those states are totalitarian states who seek to harm the state of Israel," he told public radio.
Analysts said it was unlikely Israel would be intimidated by the visit. "It's clearly a provocation and it is not pleasant for Israel," said Eldad Pardo, an Iran analyst at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "But there is no panic. They also see the opposition inside Lebanon."
Ahmadinejad's visit is seen as a boost for Iran's Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, which fought a devastating 34-day war with Israel in 2006. During the 2006 war, Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets, many supplied by Iran, into northern Israel in a conflict which killed 1,200 people in Lebanon, most of them civilians, and approximately 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers.
Iran has been a major donor for the reconstruction of southern Lebanon following the month-long war, and Ahmadinejad is likely to receive a hero's welcome when he visits the area.