News / Europe

    Challengers Claim Media Bias in Turkey's Presidential Campaign

    A security personnel stands guard as Turkey's Prime Minister and presidential candidate Tayyip Erdogan addresses the audience during a meeting to launch his election campaign, in Istanbul, July 11, 2014.
    A security personnel stands guard as Turkey's Prime Minister and presidential candidate Tayyip Erdogan addresses the audience during a meeting to launch his election campaign, in Istanbul, July 11, 2014.
    Dorian Jones

    With less than a month before the Turkish people go to the polls to elect a president for the first time in their history, a dispute has broken out on the disproportionate amount of media coverage Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been receiving on public television as opposed to the other two candidates.

    Turkey’s first popular presidential election is mired in controversy over its fairness. Both of the rivals of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the August presidential election are crying foul. Selahattin Demirtas, candidate for the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, is accusing Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT of blatant bias favoring Prime Minister Erdogan.

    Demirtas said that in a period of a few days Erdogan received 305 minutes of coverage on one TRT channel, while the other candidates received no coverage. Adding on another TRT channel, it gave the prime minister 204 minutes and three minutes to other candidates. Demirtas said the the prime minister should fire the general director of TRT out of shame.

    The figures given by Demirtas have been confirmed by the RTUK, the state broadcasting regulator.

    Strong criticism

    Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the joint candidate of the Nationalist Action Party and Republican People’s Party, also has strongly criticized the state broadcaster’s coverage.

    But Huseyin Celik, the spokesman for the ruling AK Party, has strongly defended the broadcaster. He said that as as prime minister, Erdogan deserves this coverage because he meets with ambassadors and caries out important work. He added that if the media thinks something to be worthy of the news, it will cover that.

    Hasan Tahsin Fendoglu, the deputy head of the state regulator on broadcasting, which is controlled by the ruling AK Party, echoed the government’s statements, saying Erdogan is a prime minister along with being a presidential candidate.

    Sinan Ulgen of the Carnegie Institute in Brussels said the controversy, however, casts a shadow over the fairness of the August election.

    "It's certainly very clear, there is no level playing field and it is actually heavily skewed in favor of Prime Minister Erdogan," he said. "Now the state-owned media television TRT is under the legal obligation to be neutral and to give equal exposure time to the candidates. They have not done so."

    Election looms

    Candidate Demirtas filed a court case this week against TRT for its coverage, but observers say it is unlikely it will be heard before the election on August 10. The controversy is raising wider questions about the election.

    The prime minister’s campaign is already characterized by lavish rallies across the country, while the two other candidates claim they have few funds for such events. There are restrictions on donations, but analyst Ulgen said that just like in media coverage, questions over enforcement remain, indicating fundamental problems for the election.

    "In many ways there are elements to think that there are certain dimensions of this race that are unfair and that is related to all the gaps, in the framework, both legal framework but also the enforcement of that legal framework for Turkey’s first popularly held presidential election," he said.

    Opinion polls indicate Erdogan is well ahead of his rivals, but will struggle to win the required 50 percent plus one vote to secure a first round win, which is his stated goal. A second and final round of voting would be held on August 24. Observers warn that with the country remaining divided over Erdogan, the controversy over media coverage likely will only add to that divide.

    You May Like

    Ugandan Opposition Candidate: Only Intimidation, Vote Buying Can Prevent Victory

    Kizza Besigye says he has been drawing large crowds and claims he has widespred support ahead of Feb. 18 vote

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    Sanctions Just Got Real for Over 54,000 North Koreans

    Shuttering of Kaesong complex ends virtually any hope of peaceful settlement to long-standing tensions on Korean peninsula in near future

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 18, 2014 8:28 AM
    Media bias? Ha! That's an urban legend!!!! The media is the most fairest and most balanced in the world. Hold on, let me put a couple of more rocks in my crack pipe!

    What's weird about humanity is that the media still convinces people to believe what they print. The stories are always biased, or their stories would be just boring! If you think of media as entertainment, and entertainment only, then let it inspire curiosity, not judgement! Like music, you can party like it's 1999. That doesn't mean you have to believe it's 1999, your just being entertained. That's a stretch, but I'm tired from a long days work.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.