Favorable news article on revolutionary leader is hidden ad: Turkish TV watchdog
Deniz Gezmiş, one of the three leftist student leaders executed for attempting to overthrow the constitutional order in 1972.A popular Turkish TV anchorman’s on-air advice to viewers to read a particular newspaper for its coverage commemorating a hanged revolutionary leader has been criticized by the country’s broadcasting authority, which said the remarks amounted to a “hidden advertisement.”
Daily Cumhuriyet had run coverage for four days of Deniz Gezmiş, one of the three leftist student leaders executed for attempting to overthrow the constitutional order in 1972. Gezmiş, Yusuf Aslan and Hüseyin İnan were found guilty of “attempting to change all or part of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey” and were executed on May 6, 1972 at the Ulucanlar Penitentiary in Ankara, after the 1971 military coup.
A series on Gezmiş’s life was written by journalist Can Dündar and published in Cumhuriyet, and Küçükkaya said during a live broadcast on private station Fox TV that the newspaper was running an “important dossier.”
“I advise you to buy Cumhuriyet because these are records with historic value ... I won’t read them here, you should buy a Cumhuriyet or log onto cumhuriyet.com.tr if you don’t have money,” he said on Nov. 6.
However, this speech irked the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), which includes members from parties represented at Parliament, and the broadcast watchdog eventually decided to issue a “warning” sentence.
Cumhuriyet reported on Nov. 27 that the ruling was issued through votes of the five representatives of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The representatives of the other three parties, including the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), reportedly voted against issuing the warning.
Esat Çıplak, the RTÜK member sent by the MHP, ironically noted that “even showing the logos of newspapers could be counted as advertisements in this case … They want to kill publishing in Turkey and tie up the media.”
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Ali Öztunç, also a member of RTÜK, also slammed the ruling. “The one punished here is not the broadcaster, but Deniz Gezmiş,” Öztunç said.
Küçükkaya himself also criticized the warning. “As a journalist, as a newsperson, I promote newspaper readership … I not only promote newspapers but also books. I quote from books every morning, because unfortunately Turkish society does not read very much,” he told Cumhuriyet.