MHP leader pledges to bring public broadcaster to book for one-sided election coverage
Meltem Özgenç - ANKARA/AMASYA
AFP photoTurkey’s people have been subjected to the one-sided propaganda of both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in the run-up to the Nov. 1 elections, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said Oct. 27 in the northern province of Amasya.
“Our nation has been exposed to one-sided propaganda. One of them is [Erdoğan]. The second one is [Davutoğlu] who is at the moment under custody,” he said.
“TRT, which we have built with all of our taxes, is putting these two persons on television in order to make propaganda from morning to evening. It is not making any proposals to the MHP’s candidates for parliament,” Bahçeli said, vowing to bring the broadcaster to account.
He noted pro-government channels were also behaving the same to their party, yet he would not say anything to them because they are owned by the private sector.
“Call me a coward if I don’t bring the TRT to book for acting like a ‘pool’ television,” Bahçeli said, using an expression to describe corporate owners whose media properties are at the service of the government.
Meanwhile, a statistic has revealed that in the run-up to the Nov. 1 snap election, speeches and statements by Davutoğlu covered 79 percent of 301-hour-long live broadcasting allocated to political party leaders on 12 nationwide television channels, including the TRT, from Oct. 1 to Oct. 25.
The statistic by Ersin Öngel, a member of Turkey’s media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), also revealed that during the same period of time, the TRT spared 30 hours to Davutoğlu, while sparing just five hours to Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, 70 minutes to Bahçeli and only 18 minutes to Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.
During the same period of time, 12 nationwide television channels, including the TRT, allocated 138 hours of live broadcasting to various activities by Erdoğan, such as gatherings with village heads (muhtars) at his massive presidential palace and participations at conferences or collective opening ceremonies for various facilities. The TRT devoted 29.8 hours of its schedule to broadcasting the president’s various activities.