Program director resigns after Doğan group fires TV presenter over ‘no’ vote in referendum

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Kanal D program director Ertuğrul Albayrak (2nd L), TV Presenter İrfan Değirmenci (2nd R)

Ertuğrul Albayrak, a program director at Doğan Media Group’s Kanal D TV, which recently fired presenter İrfan Değirmenci because he declared on social media that he would vote “no” in a referendum, resigned in protest of his colleague’s dismissal.

Speaking with the Birgün daily on Sunday, Albayrak said he is also a naysayer and that it would be unethical if he were to stay in his job.

They [the TV station] asked me to stay [on the job]. But, I also say ‘no’. It would be unethical to stay at the station. I prefer to live with honor,” Albayrak said.

Underlining that other journalists working with him and Değirmeci for years on the same program also wanted to resign, Albayrak said he and a few others resigned while some stayed as it is difficult to find jobs for journalists in today’s Turkey.

We don’t know who will employ us from now on. It is most probable that we will work at a hamburger shop. Nevertheless, we prefer to live in honor. We have a clean conscience,” he added.

On Saturday, Turkey’s Doğan Media Group fired Değirmenci after he declared that he would vote “no” in a referendum that will be held April 16 on constitutional amendments which will open the way to a switch from a parliamentary system of governance to an executive presidency.

Değirmenci declared in 20 messages he posted on Feb. 10 that he would vote “no” in the referendum: “’No’ to the one who sees scientists, artists, writers, cartoonists, students, workers, farmers, miners, journalists and all who do not obey as the enemy.”

With his messages posted on social media on Feb. 10, our colleague İran Değirmenci clearly took a side in a topic that is being debated among the public. Therefore, we are canceling his contract,” said the Doğan Media Group in a statement on Saturday.

Last week the contract of the Doğan group’s Posta daily columnist Hakan Çelenk was reportedly canceled by the newspaper days after he sarcastically criticized government plans for the presidential referendum.

The Doğan group, however, did not fire Fatih Çekirge despite his announcement that he would vote in favor of the referendum in his column last month.

One of the largest media groups in Turkey, the Doğan Media Group has been under fire for succumbing to the control of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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