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CHP files complaint against state-run TRT for refusing to air campaign ad

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The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has filed a criminal complaint against the managers of Turkey’s public broadcaster, the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), for failing to air its campaign video for the elections in May, local media reported on Monday.

Despite applying to the TRT General Directorate for the broadcast of a video titled “I promise you, spring will come again” and featuring CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the Turkish opposition’s challenger to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in next month’s presidential election, on the TRT 1, TRT Haber and TRT Spor channels, the party received no response to the application.

According to Turkish media reports, the party then submitted another application to TRT, stating that they find its “unjustified stance” in the matter “ironic,” considering its obligation to be impartial and adding that this attitude could result in financial damage to the institution.

Only after the second application, which served as a warning for TRT, did the channels start to air the CHP’s election campaign video, local media reports said.

Tuncay Özkan, chief advisor to CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu in charge of media and corporate communications, on Monday released a video on Twitter announcing that they had filed a complaint against TRT for failing to air the CHP election campaign ad for eight days and demanded that those responsible be held accountable.

The complaint also underlined that Kılıçdaroğlu’s speeches had not been aired on TRT, the CHP rallies had not been broadcast and the CHP leader had not been invited as a guest to any of its programs.

Kılıçdaroğlu is the presidential candidate of an opposition bloc of six parties, known as the Nation Alliance.

Erdoğan, who has been in power for 20 years, is facing his toughest challenge yet, with some opinion polls showing him losing support to Kılıçdaroğlu.

The president has been held responsible for the country’s worst economic crisis in recent years and for a poor response to earthquakes that hit the country’s south, killing tens of thousands and leaving millions homeless in February.

TRT was subordinated to the president’s office with a decree issued in 2018.

During election campaign periods in past years, TRT has been harshly criticized for discriminating against opposition parties while giving extensive coverage to the election campaigns of President Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

Most rallies for Erdoğan and the AKP are broadcast live by the station during election campaign periods.

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