Turkish media has turned into the ruling AKP’s Pravda: MHP
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli speaks during his party’s parliamentary group meeting Feb 11. AA photoAlthough his party was once shaken by an online release of sex tapes involving key party executives, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has clearly voiced his opposition to a government-led bill tightening control of the Internet.
Speaking during his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Feb. 11, Bahçeli also slammed the recently revealed telephone recording that displayed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s direct intervention in the media.
“This anachronistic law, which puts pressure on Internet access and handcuffs virtual media, has no acceptable aspect. Of course, preventing crimes committed through the Internet and preventing insults through it are important and obligatory. However, the method being followed is crippling and faulty,” he said, adding that he expected President Abdullah Gül to veto the bill, which will enable the authorities to block web pages within hours without a court order.
“The aim of laws should not be to restrict freedom, but to protect and expand it. If human rights and freedoms are not ensured, leave aside democracy’s ability to live, it is even impossible to mention its [democracy’s] name. Giving up on democracy and compromising freedom is equivalent to withholding humanity,” Bahçeli stated
The MHP was itself hit by sex tapes leaked onto the Internet in the run-up to the June 12, 2011 parliamentary elections. At the time, rumors of sex videos featuring nine MHP deputy chairs spread like wildfire, and images of some the named deputy chairs were then published on the Internet, prompting all nine to resign from their posts.
Referring to a recently revealed telephone recording that showed Erdoğan interfering with a television broadcast to remove a news ticker referring to a statement from Bahçeli at the height of the Gezi Park demonstrations last June, the MHP head lamented the pressure imposed on the media by the government.
“The censorship of the media, which has turned into the virtue of the AKP [the ruling Justice and Development Party], has been applied to the MHP. Reservations are placed against the party conveying its ideas to the public, and have become visible under the oversight and supervision of the advanced-autocrat Erdoğan. This is the murder of democracy,” Bahçeli said.
“This is an explosion of understanding the meaning of an independent press. Restrictions on the freedom of information and surrendering the press and broadcasting organizations to the prime minister’s pleasure and dirty desires is completely against democratic practices, just as much as it is disrespectful to the national will. The prime minister has impeded human rights and freedoms,” he added.