Turkey’s TV watchdog fines channel for ‘insulting’ Azerbaijan, Aliyev

The Turkish state agency for monitoring, regulating, and sanctioning radio and television broadcasts (RTÜK) has fined a TV station over remarks made during a discussion programme, which it said insulted Azerbaijan and its president, Ilham Aliyev, T24 news site reported on Wednesday.

The penalty levelled at opposition Halk TV arrives following a unanimous decision by RTÜK over remarks made by journalist Levent Gültekin during a discussion programme that aired earlier this week. 

The penalty sends a message to the world on Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan, RTÜK said in a statement, referring to the country’s ongoing conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Gültekin, during a programme aired earlier this week, questioned whether Azerbaijan was a real state or a tribal formation.

"The country has no democracy, an authoritarian administration and no elections,’’ Gültekin said.  "They are swimming in money and still have not managed to establish a sound state.’’  

The RTÜK decision arrives as Turkey throws its full support behind Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh amid the deadliest clashes in the conflict in decades.