Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected as Turkey’s president on Sunday. This success, according to Reporters Without Borders, was possible thanks to “the control of the media landscape,” the NGO’s general secretary pointed out this Monday.
“In a way, massive electoral fraud has taken place“, said Christophe Deloire, secretary general of the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF), on Monday, May 29, in Franceinfo, the day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s five-year re-election. “Erdogan has turned Turkey into a laboratory of press freedom suppression”Christophe Deloire, the Turkish president, believes “A public channel had 60 times more airtime than an opposition candidate in April.”. Erdogan’s supporters must “To realize how many kinds of tricks there are”RSF Secretary General adds.
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franceinfo: How to watch the results of the presidential election in Turkey?
Christopher DeLore: The Turks were able to discuss the shortcomings and qualities of each candidate. But it forgets that there is one thing that changes the situation, namely that there was a form of massive fraud. And there is no need to stuff the ballot boxes in the massive rigging of elections. It can go through the control of the media landscape. This is what is happening in Turkey, since Erdogan’s time in power, he has turned Turkey into a laboratory for suppressing press freedom in various and varied ways, mass jailing journalists – 30 of whom are still in prison today. If it intimidates others – the oligarchy, one of the largest private media groups, has been taken over by a billionaire very close to it, through arbitrary judicial procedures that have led to the closure of opposition media. And then by engaging the public media in its service. On the TRT Haber channel, the main public channel that broadcasts information, Erdogan spent 60 times more airtime than the opposition candidate in April: 32 hours versus 32 minutes. Obviously, all this undermines the integrity of the vote.
How did Erdogan’s press and media relations translate before the first round and in the gap between the two rounds?
This is a long term policy. Prisons are not new, although in recent months 32 Kurdish journalists have been charged with belonging to the PKK, an independence movement considered terrorists by Ankara. Only sixteen of the 32 were acquitted. The Audiovisual High Council, RTUK, imposes astronomical fines on audiovisual media. 75% of these penalties are imposed on the seven main channels that are critical. The Anti-Terrorism Act, Penal Code, makes it possible to break the law in the press.
Since 2014, 200 journalists have been prosecuted in Turkey for insulting President Erdogan.Christophe Deloire is Secretary General of the NGO Reporters Without Borders
A total of 74 convictions, fines and imprisonment were also imposed. Internet censorship I might add. All means are good for Erdogan to suppress the press in Turkey. And when journalists from abroad publish content he doesn’t like on social networks, he exports his repression using Interpol red notices. It even exerts diplomatic pressure on European countries to deport or extradite Turkish journalists to Turkey. It’s a whole system. And whatever happens during election time, on election day, we must not forget this organization that prepared the organization of these elections.
Where does Turkey rank in Reporters Without Borders?
From one year to another, Turkey lost sixteen seats. It is now 165 out of 180 countries. She is literally among the worst countries on the planet. This country has never been a perfect democracy. Various successive powers tend to imprison opponents, especially journalists who are perceived as critics. Turkey ranks worst ever.
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Heavy raids were imposed on AKP supporters. The suppression of press freedom is a country that does not belong to a single camp. Nevertheless, it must be said that Erdogan exuded a sacred knowledge. I would like to point out as a precaution that we at Reporters Without Borders do not have an explicit political position on Turkey. We are not here to tell you what the Turks should vote for. But our job is to highlight what is happening in terms of press freedom. There, I think Erdoğan’s supporters need to realize the extent to which there are forms of fraud.