Journalist Nevsin Mengu, a former anchorwoman for CNN Turk news channel, has claimed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave orders for her to be sacked from the station, Gazete Duvar news portal reported on Wednesday.
Mengu said during a program on TV 5 on Wednesday Erdogan had sent a message to businessman Aydin Dogan, who then owned the Dogan Media Group that included CNN Turk, ordering him to “handle the situation about the lady.”
In May 2017, the CNN Turk TV station’s management took Mengu off air following her remarks about a meeting between Erdogan and US President Donald Trump.
Underlining the meeting took a short time, the journalist said during an evening news program: “He [Erdogan] went in and went out, 23 minutes in total.”
She became a target of criticism in the pro-government media due to her comment on the shortness of the meeting and was relieved of her duties as the evening news anchor, although she continued to work at CNN Turk for a little while.
Mengu then resigned from the news station and announced via her Twitter account, saying: “We have parted ways [with CNN Turk] with love. This happens sometimes. I hope for the best.”
In November 2017, the journalist started to work as part of Germany’s public international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW)’s Turkish service.
When asked about how she ended up in DW on Wednesday, Mengu explained the process, emphasizing she had no choice but to leave the station after the order from Erdogan to Dogan.
As an answer to the question whether her claim reflects the truth or not, Mengu said Fikret Bila, a veteran journalist, confirmed the alleged order from Erdogan because he was on the same plane with the president when it happened.
The Dogan Media Company, which owned newspapers Hurriyet and Posta, and two of Turkey’s main entertainment and news channels, Kanal D and CNN Turk, in March 2018 sold its media assets to the pro-government Turkish conglomerate Demiroren Holding.
The move was seen by critics as one of the most evident signals of the dwindling independence of Turkish news media.