May 21 2019

Turkish pro-government daily accuses BBC, Deutsche Welle, Ahval of manipulation

Turkey is under siege by a foreign media network seeking to manipulate the opinions of Turkish society for their own interests, pro-government daily Yeni Şafak said on Tuesday.

The network has “acted as the spokesperson of terrorists behind the barricades" during the Gezi Park protests of 2013 and during Turkish military operations in various south-eastern cities against Kurdish militants, Yeni Şafak said.

Now, they are "seeping into" Turkey by establishing local news services, the newspaper said.

Deutsche Welle’s Turkish language service works as the "press office" of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), according to Yeni Şafak. Meanwhile, the Turkish services of the BBC, Sputnik, Voice of America, Fox, Euronews, Asharq al-Awsat and the Independent are all conspiring against the country, it said.

Yeni Şafak said Ahval acts as a pawn for the United Arab Emirates. It said Yavuz Baydar, its editor-in-chief, is a member of the movement of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, which the government blames for orchestrating a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Ahval maintains an independent editorial stance. Its chief editor is not a follower of Gülen, and the outlet has no relations whatsoever with the Gülen organisation or any other outlawed group.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has tightened his grip over the media following the failed coup. Over 100 outlets have been shut down or sold to pro-government businessmen, ending media pluralism in Turkey. Turkey ranked 157th out of 178 countries for press freedom last year, according to a report by Reporters Without Borders.