Pro-government CNN Turk demands that Turkish opposition party not boycott it

Executives of a pro-government news channel paid a visit to Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) following reports that the CHP was boycotting the channel.

According to the Cumhuriyet daily, the party had taken the boycott action because of CNN Turk’s alleged policy of misrepresenting it.

Executives of CNN Turk demanded the CHP not boycott the channel, a party official told Cumhuriyet.

“It [a decision on boycott by the party] is neither available nor not. A dialog process has been [still] continuing [between the party and the channel]. We are waiting for the result of the process [to make a final decision in that regard],” said the unnamed CHP senior.

Earlier this week, CNN Turk’s “extremely biased broadcasting” against the CHP had reportedly been the topic during the party’s Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting. Some proposed a boycott by the CHP towards CNN Turk, however, no decision was taken at the meeting.

Following the meeting, CHP’s adviser Mucahit Avci posted a Twitter message, saying that the party would refer the CHP politicians to a disciplinary committee if they appear on CNN Turk and would also call on the CHP voters not to watch the channel.

Speaking to Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish service on Wednesday, another party official, Erdal Aksunger, said the party was planning to file a complaint with CNN International about its Turkish franchise holder.

The CHP and its voters had been uneasy with the TV station’s editorial stance for quite some time, Aksunger argued.

“This [decision of boycott] is not new, after all. There has already been a decision taken on media outlets that do not pursue fair editorial policies,” Aksunger said.

Aksunger added that he had been personally boycotting such biased channels and programs in that regard.

In the aftermath of the remarks, CNN Turk CEO Murat Yanci, CNN Turk Ankara Representative Dicle Canova, and daily Hurriyet Representative Hande Firat visited the party on the same day.

Once a critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, CNN Turk, has changed its stance to coverage favoring him after the channel’s conglomerate, Dogan Media Group, was bought by a pro-government group just before the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018.

The group notably owns the dailies Hurriyet and Posta, and the channels Kanal D and CNN Turk.

Since then, there have many incidents that have caused a deep rift between the channel and the party.

Before mayoral elections last year, CNN Turk cut the broadcast of Ekrem Imamoglu, CHP’s Istanbul mayor, without any notice, immediately switching over to an Erdogan speech.

Referring to the break in the broadcast, Imamoglu later reacted by saying that he felt sorry for the situation of the media in Turkey. He further stated that he and his wife had decided to keep their TV off at home.

CNN Turk was once again sharply criticized for its censoring of Imamoglu’s victory speech and for instead airing a discussion of pro-government journalists.

Yurter Ozcan, CHP’s US representative, sent a letter to CNN International, providing information about “poor journalism” of its Turkish outlet.

Ozcan later claimed that the CNN headquarters had responded to his complaint about the biased news by its Turkish franchise, and had initiated an investigation.

In June, CNN International decided to take action to keep the channel’s media standards following complaints from Turkish media houses and the CHP.

“CNN staff members will work with CNN Turk staff in the coming days to ensure CNN Turk adheres to the US-based news network’s standards,” a CNN spokesperson told Ahval news portal in a written statement at the time.

Last summer, the party also accused the TV station of airing Imamoglu’s doctored footage in a bid to discredit him.

Uproar as CNN Turk abruptly cuts interview with deposed Istanbul mayor

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