Turkey’s state-run broadcaster to launch religious children’s channel

Turkey’s state-run TRT network is preparing to launch a religious children’s channel in collaboration with the country’s top religious body, T24 news site reported on Monday.

A protocol was signed on Monday between the Religious Affairs Directorate and the TRT for TRT Diyanet Children’s TV station, the site said.

The channel aims to espouse Turkish and Islamic values in the young population, something which the country failed at for years while airing translated and foreign animation series, head of the directorate Ali Erbaş said.

TRT and the directorate will work together to support Turkish children with “correct religious information,” Erbaş added while highlighting the importance of character development in children before the age of seven.

Both TRT and the directorate have been accused of becoming government mouthpieces as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has consolidated power and increased its control over both state and private media in Turkey while using the top religious body to disseminate pro-government propaganda.

According to a January report by the country’s Radio and Television Council, TRT has received 7.2 billion liras ($971 million) in public funding between the years 2017-2019.

The network maintains 5,300 square metres of facilities, where it hosts 26 television studios, 21 radio stations and 23 radio production studios, among others, with production and broadcasting also taking place in TRT’s Washington and London offices, according to the report.