ErdoIan, AK Party dominate pre-election airtime on public broadcaster

The state broadcaster the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) has once again shown blatant favoritism toward the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in pre-election coverage, while giving the opposition parties a meager amount of airtime, figures revealed by a member of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTanduK) show.
The TRT gave 30 hours of airtime to the AK Party over the past 25 days and 29 hours to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ersin andOngel, an RTanduK board member representing the opposition Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP), wrote on his Twitter account on Tuesday.
The opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) was given five hours of airtime over the same period, while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had only one hour and 10 minutes in total. andOngeland’s HDP was given a mere 18 minutes.
This is not the first time the state broadcaster comes under the spotlight for favoring Erdogan and the ruling party over the opposition in election coverage. In an unprecedented punishment, the Supreme Election Board (YSK) took seven programs broadcast by the TRT off air for failing to remain impartial when allocating airtime to candidates during the presidential election campaign period in 2014.
HDP Chairman Selahattin Demirtai, a candidate in the Aug. 10, 2014 presidential election, said then that the TRTand’s news station TRT Haber gave Erdogan eight hours of airtime. CHP-MHP joint candidate Ekmeleddin ihsanoilu was given two hours and 53 minutes, while Demirtai had only one hour and 24 minutes.
MHP leader Devlet Bahandceli held a meeting with civil society organizationsand’ representatives and other citizens in the central Anatolian province of andcankiri on Monday, saying that it is not possible to accept the TRT being an institution biased in favor of the government.
Bahandceli postulated that the state-run TRT is more subservient to the AK Party than TV stations owned by private companies. and”[The devastating] results of the TRTand’s [pro-AK Party] moves must be pointed out and the station must be called to account for them. The general elections are approaching. There are a lot of pro-government TV stations that do not broadcast programs of political parties other than the AK Party unless they have to, and continue to show members of the ruling party from morning to night. However, the state-run TRT, which I follow closely, gives a couple of AK Party ministers and deputy candidates much airtime, so as to make those people who are not brave enough to mingle freely with the public look like they are among the public… Private companies are run by their own means and become pro-government, thatand’s acceptable. However, itand’s not at all acceptable to see the TRT, an institution that survives on taxes paid by all of us, as a pro-government institution,and” Bahandceli said.
Pointing out that the TRTand’s pro-government actions damage the TV station, Bahandceli added, and”TRT puts itself among the institutions that will give an account of their actions when the political power changes.and”
Referring to the upcoming Nov. 1 general election, Bahandceli emphasized: and”Thereand’s an unfair competition [election] ahead of us. The ruling AK Party and President Erdogan are at the center of this unfairness and thus they are setting a bad example for the Turkish nation.and”
For a long time complaints have been expressed against state-run media institutions the TRT and the Anadolu news agency (AA), which are financed by Turkish taxpayers. Many people, including prominent political figures, have claimed these two institutions have lost their impartiality in favor of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) that had, until recently, been in power as a single-party government.