Turkey’s public broadcaster under fire over lack of opposition election coverage

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İsmail Saygılı, a concerned citizen, filed a criminal case on Tuesday against Turkey’s public broadcaster, TRT, over the lack of coverage of Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Muharrem İnce and İYİ (Good) Party candidate Meral Akşener’s election campaigns, the Sözcü daily reported.

“As a citizen, I am being deprived of my rights because of TRT’s choice to not cover presidential candidates’ meetings and press conferences,” Saygılı said in his petition.

The CHP’s İnce also warned TRT for the same reason, saying, “TRT belongs to 80 million citizens,” during a rally in Ankara. According to OdaTV, TRT broadcast six minutes of İnce’s press conference on Tuesday during a visit by the Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Türk-İş) after being pressured by the opposition.

In March 2017, pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Saruhan Oluç sent a petition to Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) complaining about TRT’s embargo of her party. Oluç showed that in addition to not broadcasting any HDP news, TRT had allocated 1,390 minutes to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 2,723 minutes to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), 216 minutes to the CHP and 48 minutes to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) between March 1 and 22, 2017.

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