Russian Ambassador to Turkey Aleksei Erkhov has criticized the Turkish media for allegedly pro-Ukrainian coverage of the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Thursday.
Erkhov on Wednesday paid a surprise visit to the Turkish Parliament and met with members of the Russia-Turkey inter-parliamentary friendship group, Cumhuriyet said, adding that the ambassador complained to the MPs about Turkish media coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that started on Feb. 24.
According to the report, Erkhov claimed that although Ankara was impartial in the situation between Russia and Ukraine, the country’s media coverage of the events, especially that of state broadcaster TRT, was “pro-Ukrainian.”
Cumhuriyet also reported claims that Erkhov implied TRT cannot cover the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war independently of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s stance in the matter.
The Russian envoy also warned that this year’s tourist reservations in Turkey, which hosts millions of Russian tourists every year, would not be the same as before due to the Ukraine-Russia war, referring to a drop in the country’s Russian tourist figures, Cumhuriyet said.
Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) Vice Chairperson Bülent Bülbüloğlu on Wednesday told Bloomberg HT that the war between Russia and Ukraine, both countries that constitute a huge tourist market for Turkey, was likely to affect the country’s tourism sector, with industry representatives expecting a 30 percent loss.
Saying that Russian ambassadors in many European countries had sent their families to Russia for their own safety, Erkhov requested that Ankara take the necessary steps to prevent him from having to do the same.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which came after President Vladimir Putin had amassed over 100,000 Russian troops around Ukraine in recent months but denied he had any intention of invading, entered its eighth day on Thursday.
Russia’s military operation came just days after it recognized two separatist-held enclaves in the eastern part of the country, which drew international condemnation and announcements of tougher sanctions on Moscow.