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Opposition politician walks off TV set after speech interrupted by Erdoğan broadcast

ANKARA, TURKEY - JUNE 25: Former presidential candidate of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Muharrem Ince speaks during a press conference at CHP headquarters in capital Ankara, Turkey on June 25, 2018. Evrim Aydin / Anadolu Agency

Muharrem İnce, a former Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy and presidential candidate, walked off the set of a live TV program in protest of the television station, which cut his remarks short to broadcast a speech by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish media outlets reported.

On Friday night İnce was one of the guests on a program hosted by journalist Senem Toluay Ilgaz at Haber Global TV when his remarks were suddenly cut for the broadcasting of a speech by Erdoğan on the occasion of the 567th anniversary of the conquest of İstanbul.

It is very frequent among Turkish media outlets, most of which are controlled by Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), to air Erdoğan’s speeches live. Erdoğan can sometimes be seen speaking on dozens of Turkish TV stations at the same time.

When Erdoğan finished his speech and the cameras returned to İnce, the frustrated politician said his remarks were cut suddenly and without his knowledge to air Erdoğan’s speech.

“I will never take part in your programs again. Turkey will get rid out this fascist order. He [Erdoğan] speaks on 35 TV stations already, I am someone who ran against him two years ago. I won’t let anyone play with my honor. You just continue on your way, friends. This is an act of disrespect. Turkey does not deserve this. Turkey is not the property of Erdoğan’s father,” İnce said before walking off the set.

İnce ran against Erdoğan in the presidential election of 2018 and lost with only around 30 percent of the nationwide vote.

In later remarks on Twitter, İnce said his action was not aimed at targeting the journalists on the program but was a move against the single-voice media order in Turkey.

Following a failed military coup in Turkey in July 2016, Erdoğan’s government closed down hundreds of critical media outlets and jailed dozens of journalists under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

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