Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday slammed the idea that the media is related to democracy, the T24 news website reported.
In an address delivered at the presidential palace on the occasion of the opening of the new academic year, Erdoğan focused on the issue of the media, criticizing the concept of the press and news media as constituting the fourth estate after the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.
“Our focus is on our people. It’s about what we give to our people, what they expect from us and what they think of us. That is what matters. Democracy derives its strength from the people. The media has nothing to do with it, and the idea that it somehow is an integral part of democracy, I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t work.” Erdoğan claimed.
As regards the role of the media in other countries, he said he has seen countries that are seemingly powerful but which are run by their media instead of their leaders. Erdogan argued that this situation should change.
Referring to his meetings with foreign leaders, Erdoğan complained that his interlocutors often bring up opinions put forward by the media in their country. He revealed that in response to such remarks he urged them to concentrate on public opinion and to ignore the media.
Erdoğan went on to say: “This is how things used to be in Turkey. Our country was governed by the media. They used to say that it is the fourth estate, the fourth power, whatever… You talk about democracy on the one hand, you ignore the people on the other.”
Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.