Presidential candidate Demirtaş lays into TRT with over-the-top flattery

Presidential candidate Demirtaş lays into TRT with over-the-top flattery

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Presidential candidate Demirtaş lays into TRT with over-the-top flattery

Demirtaş addresses his supporters during a rally in Istanbul. AA Photo

Damning Turkey’s national broadcaster with obsequious flattery, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş offered another pointed criticism of TRT on Aug. 3, expressing his “excitement and happiness” at being on the “precious” channel after previously being ignored by the broadcaster.

“With little to go until the presidential elections, I am experiencing excitement and happiness to be addressing you from the screens of the TRT, [a channel] that you all follow closely and which is absolutely impartial, objective and equidistant from all candidates and which, above all, is a precious institution that has displayed justice and courtesy to me in the most magnificent fashion,” he said during an address.

During the rest of his address, Demirtaş promised that the “radical democracy” represented by his party would play a greater role in creating a more equal and freer Turkey.

Turkey’s opposition has long criticized the TRT for giving a disproportionate amount of airtime to Prime Minister and presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the near-complete avoidance of the other candidates, Demirtaş and Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu.

Late last month, TRT head İbrahim Şahin vowed to stop giving airtime to Demirtaş if he continued to accuse the channel of one-sided coverage during live broadcasts of his rallies. Demirtaş criticized TRT over its unequal media coverage of the election campaign during a rally in the western province of Aydın.

Şahin said Demirtaş’s speech was “very unfortunate,” adding that the nation was watching closely those who make excuses centering on the channel since they already see themselves as the losers.

“We will cut broadcasts if these heavy accusations continue to be expressed in live coverage,” he said.

When asked about Şahin’s statement, Demirtaş said July 28 that he would “deal with him” after Eid al-Fitr, adding that one of his first acts as president would be to remove the TRT head from his post.

Also on Aug. 3, TRT cut a live broadcast of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli’s speech in the western province of Afyonkarahisar after he began criticizing the channel.

Noting that the nation was the owner of the TRT, Bahçeli said: “From morning to night, TRT broadcasts propaganda for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, allocating 500 hours to [Erdoğan], five hours to another candidate and seven hours to the other. The nation here is no longer the owner here, the candidate Erdoğan has become the owner – the TRT is serving him.”

The beginning of Demirtaş’s speech can be viewed here: