CNN has acknowledged “criticism from some Turkish media” of election coverage broadcast by its franchise in Turkey and says CNN Türk must adhere to the network’s standards, a CNN spokesperson told the Ahval news website in a written statement on Tuesday.
“We are aware of criticism from some Turkish media surrounding CNN Türk’s election coverage. CNN Türk is an independent channel, which licenses the CNN brand, but as part of this agreement must also adhere to CNN’s standards,” CNN’s statement said.
“We are in contact with CNN Türk and they have provided assurances and evidence that they are making every effort to provide balanced coverage of the Turkish elections,” it added.
CNN Türk’s broadcasts have long been criticized by the Turkish opposition for being “biased” and favorable to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The criticism increased during the elections, when opposition parties were unable to find a venue to promote their agenda.
During the campaign for local elections held on March 31, CNN Türk cut an interview with the opposition’s İstanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu to broadcast a speech by President Erdoğan.
The outlet also distorted the remarks of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Sezai Temelli, a fake story that undermined the alliance between the HDP and other opposition parties in the local elections.
The TV station was taken over by the Demirören family, a pro-Erdoğan business conglomerate, in early 2018.
After the purchase observers reported that President Erdoğan was in control of more than 95 percent of the media outlets in Turkey.
President of CNN International Commercial Rani R. Raad tweeted a photo in May 2018 showing him with President Erdoğan and his spokesperson İbrahim Kalın in Ankara. The content of the meeting is unknown, according to Ahval.