Erdoğan admits calling Habertürk executive to change reporting during Gezi protests

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan


Date posted: February 11, 2014

İSTANBUL

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan acknowledged calling an executive of a mainstream news channel while on an official visit to Morocco in June to discuss its coverage of comments by an opposition leader, but said he only did so to draw attention to the fact that he was being insulted.

Erdoğan’s interference in a news channel’s reporting by instructing a top manager at the channel to immediately remove a news ticker, an act exposed by a voice recording, has been met with serious criticism from several political parties as well as society.

The prime minister confirmed his call to the Habertürk executive at a press conference along with his Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, in Ankara on Tuesday.

His remarks came after Today’s Zaman journalist Ahmet Dönmez asked a number of questions concerning Erdoğan’s meddling with the media, the construction of a number of villas which allegedly belong to the Erdoğan family in a first-degree environmentally protected zone in Urla, İzmir province, and the purchase of a media outlet through the collection of bribes.

Enraged by the questions, Erdoğan rejected any role in the construction of the villas on public land in Urla and said there is an ongoing trial concerning the issue. He strongly rejected any wrongdoing while claiming that he has no link to the case as the villas had been constructed 35 years ago.

“That land belongs to one of my good friends and it is not on public property. First and foremost, I want you to know this fact. I have only gone there along with my family on a brief vacation lasting three to five days a year over the past five years,” Erdoğan said, dismissing the accusations that he called for a change in the status of the area from a first-degree environmentally protected zone to a third-degree environmentally protected zone to allow the construction of the villas.

Appearing tense and stunned by the questions, Erdoğan took a swipe at the reporter, who received a hero’s welcome on social media for his questions at a time when practicing the basic components of journalism — asking questions — poses a tremendous risk for journalists in Turkey.

In voice recording uploaded to YouTube last week, Erdoğan is heard giving phone instructions to Fatih Saraç, the vice president of the Ciner Media Group, to which the Habertürk news channel belongs, to stop a news ticker in which Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli called on President Abdullah Gül to intervene and decrease the tension during the Gezi Park protests, which rocked the country at the beginning of last summer.

“This is very surprising… There is no need for such things [to be displayed on television],” Erdoğan told Saraç on June 4, 2013, while on an official visit to Morocco. According to the voice recording, Saraç responded to Erdoğan, who was apparently vexed by the MHP leader’s comment that the president should intervene, thereby sidelining the prime minister. “I will deal with it immediately, sir,” he said.

The voice recordings, made public Tuesday night, seemed to show that Erdoğan was closely following, even while abroad, what the Turkish media disclosed to the public. The voice recording of Erdoğan, in which the prime minister allegedly instructed, while the Gezi Park protests were at their peak, the senior official of a television channel to immediately stop running the news ticker that did not appeal to him, has amply demonstrated how far the prime minister goes in his efforts to control the media.

When asked about the phone conversation, Erdoğan acknowledged that he had called the Habertürk executive. “I was being insulted,” said Erdoğan in an effort to justify his call.

Source: Todays Zaman , February 11, 2014


Related News

Daily Trust Editorial: In Turkey, fresh affront on democracy

The AKP government, under emergency rule, has taken over hundreds companies, seized the assets of businessmen and shut down institutions linked to the movement. Despite the fact that Gülen denied the accusation and called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, President Erdoğan – calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” – and the Turkish government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement.

‘Ankara no longer producing laws compatible with EU norms’

When it comes to how Europe sees Erdoğan’s claims and the demonization of the Gülen movement, European Commission officials clearly told Turkish officials, including Çavuşoğlu, that the AKP’s demonization of the Gülen movement seems like an effort by the ruling party to cover up the corruption investigation, because there is no other way to explain why prosecutors and police who have been investigating a major corruption [scandal] were removed.

As Turkey’s war on Gulen escalates, so does impact on Africa

While critics say that Gülen is at best a cult figure, he is considered by many the legitimate spiritual leader of an Islamic movement that is focused on humanitarian service – hence the common name Hizmet – as well as interfaith dialogue and education.

Watson: My expressions were twisted by Sabah Daily

British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party Watson said he was disappointed by an interview published in the Sabah daily as the meanings of his expressions were misconstrued.

Turkish Alevites, Sunnis show solidarity during Eid al-Adha

The Turkmen -Alevite-Bektasi Association (TABA) and the Kimse Yok Mu Association helped families in Kirklareli’s Hasandede town, Turkey, who could not afford to sacrifice an animal in this Eid al-Adha. During Eid al-Adha meat from sacrificed animals were distributed to 100 predetermined needy families making them enjoy the holiday.

Old reflexes of media against faith will rise again

The author says his book offers documents and detailed data on smear campaigns against religious people, including publications such as “Haliç’te Yaşayan Simonlar” (Simons in the Golden Horn) by Hanefi Avcı, “İmamın Ordusu” (The Imam’s Army) by Ahmet Şık, news portal Odatv and other websites used as tools in such smear campaigns. 11 December 2011, […]

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

“Noah’s Pudding Approach” to Address Immigration Problem

Governor’s office leads raid against Gülen inspired school based on annulled law

German gov’t dismisses parliamentary question on Hizmet

Five global challenges: how might Hizmet respond?

Minister’s remarks on Gülen cause AK Party members to resign

Gülen-linked journalists organization voices concern over profiling claims

Fethullah Gulen’s Statement on Devastating Bush Fires in Australia

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News