State broadcaster gives AKP’s alliance 37, pro-Kurdish HDP 0 hrs of coverage

Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT provided a total of 37 hours of coverage for Turkey’s leading Justice and Development Party (AKP)-Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) alliance formed ahead of the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, while newly formed nationalist Good (İYİ) Party received 9.5 hours and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) received no coverage at all between April 17-May 6, secular Cumhuriyet daily reported.

Citing a report by Turkey’s Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK), which examined broadcasts covering political parties and their spokespeople, Cumhuriyet said the amount of time allotted for Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was 3 hours during the above mentioned dates, mostly comprising speeches made by party leader Kemal Kılıçadroğlu.

The Turkish state’s overwhelming control of the country’s press and television news outlets, particularly following the July 2016 coup attempt has been one of the leading criticisms directed at the country, particularly by international media organizations.

CHP’s presidential candidate, Muharrem İnce, only received 27 minutes of air time during the same time period, Cumhuriyet said. İnce was nominated on May 4.

İnce previously commented on the absence of TRT coverage of his Yalova meeting where he kicked off his presidential campaign, saying, ‘’This is my last warning, I won’t be making another warning. TRT is not your backyard. TRT belongs to 80 million,’’ referencing the entire population of Turkey.

Speeches by MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, who earlier this year announced his party’s support of Erdoğan as presidential candidate, saw 1 hour and 40 minutes of coverage by TRT with the AKP-MHP alliance receiving a total of 37 hours of air time.

The RTÜK report also included information on the content of coverage the MHP-AKP alliance received. The largest share of air time went to speeches by President Erdoğan, followed by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın and AKP Spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ, Cumhuriyet daily said.