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Turkish finance minister 'unfollows' Economist over pro-CHP article

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 6/5/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Finance Minister Şimşek has decided to 'unfollow' The Economist on Twitter because of an article the magazine published urging Turks to vote for the main opposition.

Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has decided to “unfollow” The Economist on the social-networking site Twitter because of an article the British magazine published urging the Turkish electorate to vote for the main opposition party.

The minister explained his decision in a series of short messages posted on his Twitter account over the weekend.

“Dear friends, after reading the shockingly prejudiced & blatantly politically motivated article about #Turkey & #AkParti on @TheEconomist .... l’ve decided to Unfollow #theEconomist, one of very few publications l’d been following on twitter & been an avid reader of for a long time,” Şimşek wrote in two of his English-language messages on the subject.

In other messages, he accused the magazine of “poor journalism at best & serving ‘a certain agenda’ at worst.”

“It was our government which introduced advanced democracy & civil liberties in Turkey-and this is just the beginning… Our track record has been & our vision 2023 is none other than a stronger democracy, a stronger economy & a stronger Turkey,” Şimşek wrote of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government.

“It is apparent that #theEconomist is still living in the past, whereas our agenda is for the future of all of our citizens,” he added. “It is evident it does not know #Turkey & has not kept up with the drastically positive changes Turkey has been going through... It has consciously crossed the line into politics by displaying an overt bias against us... Unfortunately, #theEconomist has willfully made itself irrelevant & disrespected -and its line of argument is a complete red herring.”

In an editorial column dated June 2, The Economist called on Turkish voters to cast their ballots for the opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, in the June 12 general election, noting that corruption was on the rise, press freedom was under attack and more journalists were in prison under the AKP.

Titled “One for the opposition,” the column stated that “the best way for Turks to promote democracy would be to vote against the ruling party.”

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