Turkish TV stations air 44 hours of live Erdoğan speeches in one week: Report
Meltem Özgenç - ANKARA
A report prepared by a member of Turkey’s top television and radio watchdog has concluded that national TV stations broadcast live speeches by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a total of more than 44 hours in one week.
Opposition parties claims that Erdoğan has been violating the constitution by harshly criticizing them in an ever-intensified wave of political speeches as the June 7 general elections approach.
Although Turkish laws stipulate that the president must perform his duties “without bias,” Erdoğan, as the founder of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), announced before he took office in August 2014 that he would not be an “impartial president.”
According to the report prepared by Süleyman Demirkan, who was elected to the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) as a member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Turkish TV stations broadcast Erdoğan’s live speeches for a total of 44 hours and 32 minutes from April 27 to May 3.
The report also stated that Erdoğan directly targeted opposition deputies in a speech on April 27, which went on for three hours and eight minutes.
On April 30, he slammed “certain parties” and on May 1 he lashed out at “populist” election promises of the opposition, also demanding that Turks vote to switch to a presidential system, which is the main election promise of the AKP. The latter speech was aired for a total of more than 10 hours across TV stations.
On May 2 and May 3, Erdoğan’s main target was the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the report also noted.
“The public broadcaster TRT’s share of the 44 hours and 32 minutes of live Erdoğan speeches was almost seven hours,” it added.
Just one month ahead of Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary election, the Supreme Election Board (YSK) had rejected an appeal from the HDP, which requested that the body warn the office of the presidency about “holding the election in line with principle of impartialness.”
Both the CHP and the HDP had appealed to the RTÜK to keep televisions from broadcasting all of Erdoğan’s speeches for the sake of fair elections.