Opposition pres. candidate slams state TV, vows to sell station if elected

Opposition center-right nationalist Good (İyi Party) presidential candidate Meral Akşener on Saturday slammed state news channel TRT for cutting coverage of her campaign speech when she criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and said she would sell the station and distribute the money to the people of Turkey, secular Cumhuriyet daily reported.

Akşener was in the central province of Çorum during her national campaign trail ahead of the June 24 elections, which will usher in an executive presidential system that grants the Turkish president extended powers.

The Good Party leader criticized Turkish media - 90 percent of which is under the control of the government or Erdoğan’s business allies -  for their lack of coverage of opposition parties and referred to her previous day of campaigning in the central province of Kayseri:

‘’Kayseri was teeming with people,’’ Akşener said. ‘’TRT aired me for exactly 38 seconds. I’m going to sell TRT and give the money to you.’’

State news channel TRT was able to find 36 hours over the first three weeks of the campaign to cover candidates from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), as compared to 3 hours and 4 minutes for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), 40 minutes for Erdoğan’s coalition partners in the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and a single 9-minute-and-30-second broadcast by Akşener, while the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Islamist opposition Felicity Party received zero coverage.