Opposition İstanbul mayoral candidate and mayor-elect Ekrem İmamoğlu on Monday criticized wealthy Turkish families that own popular TV stations, including NTV, Habertürk and CNN Türk, for not covering his speeches, the Diken news website reported.
Speaking to a crowd in İstanbul’s Kartal district about the latest developments in the recount of İstanbul’s invalid votes, İmamoğlu complained about the media’s unwillingness to cover his speeches.
“The media should protect the people’s right to receive accurate information. I can understand why some media outlets, even the state-run Anadolu news agency, [cut me out of their coverage],” İmamoğlu said.
“But there are some wealthy families who are famous in Turkish society because of the businesses they built. I feel sorry for them when I see that the TV stations they own did not cover my press conferences,” he added.
NTV is owned by Ferit Şahenk, the former owner of Garanti Bank, while Habertürk belongs to Turgay Ciner, a mining tycoon.
CNN Türk is a part of a media group that was sold to the pro-government Demirören family in 2017.
Turkey experts have long criticized media ownership in the country, leading to poor journalism due to the business families’ dependence on the government.
According to a report by the International Media Institute (IPI) in February, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan exerts influence over 95 percent of the Turkish media.
Meanwhile, the pro-government media portrayed İmamoğlu’s remarks as a “threat” to freedom of press.