Turkey’s largest opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has announced that it has begun boycotting CNN’s Turkish affiliate, CNN Turk.
The boycott, which will include no appearance of party members on the channel’s programs and call for the CHP voters not to watch the TV station, is due to CNN Turk’s alleged practices of censorship and distortions towards the opposition party.
The decision was officially announced on Thursday by CHP’s Vice Chairman Tuncay Ozkan who said in a press conference the decision had been taken in the party’s Central Executive Board (MYK).
Following the boycott-related remarks by some CHP officials on Wednesday, CNN Turk executives had visited the CHP, in a bid to stop the implementation of the boycott decision.
“CNN Turk has been broadcasting not for the good of public but for the power [the ruling Justice and Development Party – AKP] and continues to do so,” Ozkan claimed.
He claimed the TV station was working in line with the orders given by the AKP as if it was its advertising agency. He said this has been very noticeable during the local elections last year.
“We recommend our citizens not to watch the CNN Turk broadcasts in order to be safe from the harms of this channel,” Ozkan urged.
He also called on the channel administration to leave the “bog of the power,” instead to embrace objective broadcasting principles.
The party is also planning to file a complaint with CNN International about its Turkish franchise holder.
CHP’s Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, who was previously subjected to alleged censorship and discredit by the channel, is the first to announce that he would not participate in a CNN Turk program, Tarafsız Bolge (Unbiased Zone), to be hosted by anchorman Ahmet Hakan next week.
In a previous ‘Unbiased Zone’ program in May last year, the anchor had cut a live program short by half an hour as Imamoglu carried on talking about lavish spending at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) during the AKP rule.
The hashtag, #CnnTürkBoykot, which has been initiated to motivate the public to support the boycott, went viral on Twitter since the decision was announced.
In the first a few hours following the CHP’s boycott decision, CNN Turk’s number of followers on Twitter has steadily decreased from 5,150,000 to around 4,950,000.
Ozgur Ozel, a CHP lawmaker, posted a Tweet, saying that the same decrease would be seen in the TV’s ratings and other platforms in the days to come so that CNN would realize the power of influence when the public acted in solidarity.