October 28, 2015

Turkey’s media regulator RTÜK stands against illegal seizure of İpek Media Group

Board members from Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) have expressed solidarity with İpek Media Group, calling the governmental seizure of the media outlet an “unauthorized political measure” and an “oppression of free press.”

Speaking in front of İpek Media Group’s Ankara offices, board member Ersin Öngel highlighted the illegality of the measures. “The prosecutor’s order, leading to the closure of networks, is an attempt to sidestep RTÜK. Today’s measures are a clear violation of RTÜK’s jurisdiction.”

Öngel reiterated his strong belief that the government’s attempt to silence free press will not succeed. “There is a strong will [in the country] that wants peace, and we are witnessing it across the board.” He added: “If the press is oppressed into silence, there will be no democracy left to speak of… We will continue to make a strong stance against such measures.”

Police stormed the Istanbul offices of İpek Media Group early Wednesday morning, just two days after the government seized its parent company Koza İpek Holding, and less than a week before the Nov. 1 snap election. A number of pro-government trustees, including some from the strongly pro-government Sabah-ATV Media Group, have been appointed to replace the current board of directors.

The new pro-government board of trustees, together with police escorts, entered the television stations’ satellite uplink room before the broadcasts were finally cut. Bugün TV Editor-in-Chief Tarık Toros was escorted by police officers out of the broadcasting room, and a hand-written notice from the new trustee board declared that Toros had been sacked.

Fellow board member İsmet Demirdöğen called on all circles of society to put aside past grudges and divisions and take a unified stance against the seizure of the networks. “In the face of such atrocities, people should not discriminate amongst the oppressed but focus on the tyrant.”

Highlighting that the seizure occurred just days before the Nov. 1 general election, Demirdöğen added: “Turkey is going through a nightmare. Nov. 1 might be the day that we wake up from the darkness.”

Published on BGNNews, 28 October 2015, Wednesday