Turkish pro-government TV channel Kanal A, which has been on air for 21 years, was closed. The television channel, which is supported by Ankara’s resigned mayor Melih Gökçek and known as close to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, has announced that they were fighting against the Gülen movement but unable to succeed, they had to close the channel due to financial incapacity in a written statement releases by the channel’s executive Alper Tan.
Turkish media reported that Kanal A was first established by Melih Gökcek. Then a conservative neo-nationalist group called “the National Vessel (Milli Damar)” separated his ways not to stay in Gökçek’s shadow. It was claimed that Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has never fully trusted them and he did not take any representatives to his plane as a symbolic show of distrust.
It was, anyway, speculated in Turkish media that the closure of Kanal A may be related to Gökçek’s resignation under heavy pressure of Erdoğan. It has been also speculated that the Institute for Strategic Thinking (SDE), which has also been supported by Gökçek, may also be closed in coming days. Even a new wave of purges for the names like academic Yasin Aktay in the AKP and the bureaucracy is expected.
A group in the armed and civilian state bureaucracy and judiciary named “KÖZ” after the name of a mysterious theologian named Kemalettin Özdemir had previously sued the group and Hanefi Avcı, a controversial former police chief, had filed a criminal complaint against them. It is also speculated that the strong neo-nationalist (Ulusalcı) wing in the armed and civilian state bureaucracy and judiciary, which is represented by Doğu Perinçek in politics, wants to get rid of both of the KÖZ and the National Vessel groups.
It was revealed that Kanal A, which was removed from the Türksat satellite recently due to its unpaid debts, could not pay the salaries of its employees for 6 last months. The statement made by Alper Taner, the head of executive board of the Kanal A is as follows:
“Our precious friends; since 1996, we have tried to make principled, accurate reporting and analysis within the framework of the values we have believed. Especially the Gülen movement and the militarists of February 28 (a military intervention named as ‘post-modern military coup’ in 1997), we have overcome the mischievous faces and many outbreaks with faith and determination.
In the intensive agendas, we constantly highlighted the common values for our country, our nationality and our spirituality during this hectic period. We have not run after money in the media business for many years due to our goals. We acted with the thought of that the giver is only Allah.
The media and especially the world of television is not a rose without thorn, and Kanal A is not a rose garden. But we have always praised Allah for our status. At the point we arrived; We take a break to broadcast for a numerous reasons. Radio A and kanalahaber.com will continue to broadcast.
During this time, we would like to thank our valued viewers, our self-sacrificing programmers and my colleagues for feeling the warmth and sincerity. Our respect…”
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 256 journalists and media workers are in jails as of October 30, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 232 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 133 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.