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Gov’t-critical Turkish newspaper’s request to launch TV channel delayed for 9 months

A person holds the latest copy of opposition daily newspaper Sözcü bearing a headline reading " May 19 Freedom of Press special edition" on a blank page on May 20, 2017 in Istanbul. Turkish authorities targeted on May 19, 2017 opposition daily Sozcu, seeking the arrest of the owner and detaining two employees as the crackdown on opposition media widened. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL

Turkey’s Sözcü daily, a nationalist media outlet that is critical of the government, has accused the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) of hampering its attempt to launch a television channel due to political considerations.

According to a statement published on the front page of the daily on Tuesday, Sözcü acquired a national TV channel nine months ago and applied to RTÜK to change its name and logo.

Despite a legal requirement to respond to any request within two months, RTÜK did not get back to Sözcü.

“We learned that in the first seven months of this year RTÜK has approved name and logo change requests from 18 outlets,” the statement said.

“Is political pressure holding up our request? Is it because Sözcü is critical of the government?” it added.

Meanwhile, RTÜK issued a counter statement the same day, denying Sözcü’s claims.

“The request [filed by Sözcü] lacks certain legal requirements and can only be reviewed after we receive a legally proper file,” the RTÜK statement said.

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