Three quarters of the Turkish media and 80 percent of all columnists are against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a party spokesman has claimed.
The statements were made by deputy leader and party spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik, who spared no effort in slamming the media for distorting realities and allying with Freedom House in bashing Turkey and its government.
“The circulation of the newspapers in Turkey is around 5,000,000. Three quarters of them are in opposition of the AK Party. Those deemed to be pro-government newspapers have circulations of around 1,200,000. There are around 1,000 columnists and four fifths of them are against the AK Party,” Çelik told reporters at a press conference on May 8.
The spokesperson made these estimations as part of his reaction to a recent report issued by Freedom House that demoted Turkey to the “not free league” in its press freedom index. Çelik also directed his criticisms at Turkish journalists who seemed to be happy about the report.
“Our opposition media jumped for joy over this report. There are those who are delighted, just like those who are becoming happy when international rating bureaus are downgrading Turkey’s rate. This is immoral. This is the reflection of a sick mentality,” Çelik said.
Advising Turkish media to do some journalism by looking into to whom Freedom House is serving, Çelik recalled that the Turkish media was enjoying the freedom of attacking Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his family members with insults. “People say everything about him and his family members and then claim that they are not free. What else were you planning to write that you could not?” asked Çelik.
Admitting that there were some problems with regard to press freedom in Turkey, but counting it worse than so many underdeveloped countries was not a show of goodwill, Çelik repeated the Justice Ministry’s statement that all journalists behind bars were charged with either terrorism or other crimes that have nothing to do with their journalistic activities.
Media trying to revive Gezi
Another criticism Çelik directed at the Turkish media was its coverage on the Environment Ministry’s plans to boost tourism in one of the best-preserved corners of the Aegean coast, the Datça peninsula, at the expense of threatening the region’s nature.
“Those reports were full of mistakes,” Çelik said, explaining that these plans were the result of nine-year long studies and Datça’s mayor, a member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), also supported the plans. “They are trying to provoke the Gezi [demonstrations],” he said, adding these efforts to be exerted until May 31, the anniversary of the Gezi protests, will not yield results. “Those days are over. Do not be hopeful,” he said.