Protesting in U.S., Turkish opposition denounces 'fake news' of CNN Türk - Bloomberg

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Monday held demonstrations outside CNN headquarters in Atlanta, CNN New York and the White House to denounce CNN's Turkish sister channel for spreading false propaganda, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

CNN Türk has been under fire over accusations of biased coverage favouring Turkey’s ruling party and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since the beginning of campaigns for March 31 local elections in Turkey.

“It is clear that CNN Türk continues to spread fake news, undermine opposition and subjectively support Erdoğan’s government that has nothing to do with journalism,” Yurter Özcan, CHP representative to the U.S., said in an emailed statement. “We will continue our efforts until CNN revokes its name from its Turkish franchise.”

Bloomberg said some protesters outside CNN’s Atlanta office held signs saying, “Stop manipulating the elections in Istanbul”.

Turkey’s Supreme Election Council last month nullified the March vote in Istanbul following an appeal of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and scheduled a rerun on June 23.

A CNN spokesperson told Ahval in April that CNN staff members would work with CNN Türk staff to ensure CNN Türk adheres to the U.S.-based news network’s standards, after the television channel was criticised for censorship when, two weeks before the March 31 vote, it suddenly cut a live broadcast featuring the opposition mayoral candidate for Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu.

The CHP over the weekend accused CNN Türk of airing a doctored video of İmamoğlu in an attempt to discredit him.

İmamoğlu last week was not allowed to use the VIP lounge at airport in Turkey’s Black Sea coastal town of Ordu. Turkish pro-government outlets said the opposition candidate had called the governor of Ordu a ‘dog’ for denying him the VIP lounge. The CHP said the video footage shared by pro-government outlets, including CNN Türk, was doctored. Another video shared by the CHP shows İmamoğlu calming down party officials at airport.

“CNN Turk is an independent channel, which licenses the CNN brand, but as part of this agreement must also adhere to CNN’s standards. CNN Türk has provided assurances and evidence that they are making every effort to provide balanced coverage of the Turkish elections. We are in regular contact with CNN Türk regarding output and editorial practices,” Bloomberg quoted CNN as saying in a written statement.

Pro-government media conglomerate Demirören in early 2018 purchased the Doğan Media Group, which also owns CNN Türk, a move seen by many as a significant shift for Turkey's media landscape. Dozens of renowned journalists were fired by CNN Türk after it changed hands.