Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli ran an advertisement in a number of newspapers on Tuesday, listing the names of 70 journalists from various media outlets, researchers and polling company managers who, according to him, had defamed his party during the recent election campaign, the T24 news website reported.
Bahçeli’s remarks in the advertisement titled “A Thank You Message” targeted journalists, saying, “We will never forget what they did, what they wrote, what they destroyed, what they commented.”
“The respected people (!) whose names are written below had come up smiling (!) from an extensive and exhaustive smear campaign that took months,” the ad said with a hint of sarcasm.
The MHP garnered more than 11 percent support in Sunday’s general election, exceeding the predictions of journalists and polling companies.
Bahçeli had repeatedly slammed journalists and polling companies that had forecast the MHP’s share of support at around 5 percent.
“The results of the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections showed once more that the Turkish nation does not fall for perception games, or believe slanderers,” the ad said.
Journalists unions, on the other hand, responded to Bahçeli’s newspaper ad, stating that it was a dangerous way to refute journalists.
“Although there are more civilized methods, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli’s targeting of journalists who criticized him and his party with ‘ads’ and ‘lists’ is extremely dangerous,” Journalists Without Borders (RSF) representative Erol Önderoğlu said on Tuesday.
“Accusing our colleagues of conducting a ‘smear campaign’ is crossing the line,” the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) also said in a written statement.