Erdoğan’s far-right ally targets opposition MP, media tycoon

The leader of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, called main opposition deputy Ali Mahir Başarır’s critical remarks on a defence industry deal Turkey struck with Qatar “high treason,” news website Artı Gerçek reported on Friday.

In a written statement, Bahçeli also targeted criticism directed at Turkey’s media watchdog RTÜK for issuing a fine over the deputy’s remarks, saying: “Those who don't object to this dishonour brought on Turkish army should talk about neither law nor national dignity. We will hold them to account.”

Speaking to Habertürk on Nov. 28, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Başarır had said the government’s recent deals with Qatar amounted to selling off the Turkish army to the Gulf country.

Turkey’s media watchdog RTÜK issued Habertürk a five percent administrative fine and a five-time broadcast ban upon these remarks, saying the segment had gone against Turkey’s independence and unity.

Bahçeli also lambasted Habertürk’s owner Turgay Ciner, who “didn’t express genuine sadness about the serious insult to the Turkish army,” nor did he “promise to be more meticulous on who will be invited on air in the future.”