Turkey’s İYİ Party gives ‘Kim Jong-un press freedom award’ to public broadcaster TRT

In a move to protest the state-run Turkish Radio and Television (TRT), which has been criticized for acting as the mouthpiece of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, the İYİ Party has given the station a “press freedom award” in the name of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

İYİ Party deputy Ümit Özdağ and other party officials on Thursday held a demonstration outside TRT offices in İstanbul’s Ulus neighborhood in protest of the station’s biased coverage and discriminatory attitude toward the opposition parties.

Özdağ said the attitude of TRT can only be found in North Korea, where the media is strictly controlled by the government and acts as its mouthpiece.

The İYİ Party officials left a banner and a cup as an award in front of the TRT building after the protest.

“The winner of the Kim Jong-un objective and free media award is TRT,” says a banner bearing the station logo.

According to calculations, the TRT gave the AKP and its election partner the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 37 hours of airtime in May, while it gave three hours to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), nine minutes to the İYİ Party and zero to the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Felicity Party (SP) in the same period.

“We are giving them a North Korean award. Let them be happy with this,” Özdağ said.

Meanwhile, the pro-government Milliyet daily reported on Thursday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will not deliver a campaign speech as the presidential candidate of his ruling AKP on public broadcaster TRT due to a busy schedule.

Presidential candidates and political parties have the right to make 10-minute-long campaign speeches on TRT in the run-up to the elections. Turkey will hold snap presidential and general elections on June 24.

The daily reported, based on AKP sources, that neither Erdoğan nor Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım have time to allocate for the taping of the TRT campaign speech video due to their busy election programs.

TRT will start to broadcast the speeches of presidential candidates on June 17, with Doğu Perinçek appearing first, followed by Selahattin Demirtaş and Temel Karamollaoğlu.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Muharrem İnce and İYİ Party presidential candidate Meral Akşener have refused to appear on TRT, which they criticized for a lack of news coverage on the opposition.

TRT is being heavily criticized for discriminating against opposition parties while giving extensive coverage to the election campaigns of Erdoğan and his AKP. Most Erdoğan and the AKP election rallies are broadcast live by the station. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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