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Kılıçdaroğlu criticizes Erdoğan interview, pledges media diversity ahead of Turkish elections

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Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the presidential candidate for the opposition Nation Alliance and leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has criticized an interview of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that was simultaneously broadcast on 24 TV stations on Friday, vowing such practices would not continue under his rule.

Erdoğan, also the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), appeared in an interview aired on 24 channels on the evening of May 12. Kılıçdaroğlu was appearing at the same time on another station when he took to Twitter to express his disapproval of Erdoğan’s broadcast.

Kılıçdaroğlu tweeted, “Shall I make another promise? While we are governing this country, you will never again see all channels broadcasting the same content.” He went on to stress his commitment to democracy, describing it as “a beautiful, truly magnificent thing.”

The comments come as Turkey is set to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday. Most recent polls indicate that Erdoğan is trailing Kılıçdaroğlu, which could potentially mark a significant political shift in the country.

Most Turkish newspapers and television stations came under the control of government officials and their business allies during a sweeping crackdown that followed a failed coup in 2016.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), 90 percent of the national media in Turkey, which was ranked 165th among 180 countries in the RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index, is owned by pro-government businessmen and toe the official line.

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