Turkish public TV allocates 105 minutes to President Erdoğan, 18 seconds to HDP’s Demirtaş ahead of polls

Turkey’s state-run broadcasting company TRT has allocated 105 minutes of airtime to Turkey’s incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), while it has given only 18 seconds to Selahattin Demirtaş, the presidential candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) ahead of the presidential elections on June 24, according to a report by Transparency International (TI).

According to a report by Bianet, TI has drafted a report on the amount of time state channel TRT Haber has allocated to presidential candidates during the election campaign period ahead of the June 24 presidential and general elections.

Examining the time allocated by TRT’s news channel to presidential candidates and political parties from May 4 to May 31, TI said: “Obliged with carrying out public broadcasting, TRT has to embrace all political parties with an egalitarian understanding. The responsibility of TRT, which is financed by all citizens’ taxes, is not to work for a power or interest group but to reflect the political spectrum with all diversity.”

According to the TI report, the time TRT allocated to the candidates between May 4-May 31, 2018 is as follows:

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, presidential candidate of the People’s Alliance of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ultra-nationalist ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP): 105 minutes/65 percent

Muharrem İnce, presidential candidate of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP): 37 minutes/22 percent

Meral Akşener, presidential candidate of the neo-nationalist opposition İYİ Party: 14 minutes/9 percent

Temel Karamollaoğlu, the presidential candidate of Islamist Felicity Party (SP): 5 minutes/3 percent

Doğu Perinçek, presidential candidate of the neo-nationalist Homeland Party (VP): 2 minutes

Selahattin Demirtaş, presidential candidate of the pro-Kurdish HDP: 0,3 minutes (18 seconds)

Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Board (YSK) has given a green light to Demirtaş to campaign on state-owned TRT television ahead of the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, the online news outlet T24 reported.

TRT has been the subject of criticism for giving disproportionate air time to certain political parties and heavily favouring the ruling AKP. TRT will be heading to Edirne province, where Demirtaş remains in pre-trial detention, the site said. All candidates will have two 10-minute time slots for the first round of the presidential election, with the same time frame being allotted should the election go into a second round.

Turkey’s President Erdoğan is looking to retain his seat in the upcoming election which will usher in a new presidential system that was narrowly approved in last year’s referendum and is set to grant the president increased powers.

Demirtaş has been imprisoned on terror charges since November 2016 but is yet to be convicted. HDP officials had appealed for his release so that he can run his presidential campaign. İnce supported this move and paid a visit to Demirtaş in Edirne Prison.

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