Two members of Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) have applied to the country’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) seeking the removal of public broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television’s (TRT) general manager on the grounds that TRT is not impartial in its broadcasts.
The RTÜK members, İsmet Demirdöğen and İlhan Taşçı, who are from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), told the YSK in a petition they submitted on Friday that TRT General Manager İbrahim Eren should immediately be removed from his post.
The RTÜK members claim that as Turkey is preparing to hold snap presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, TRT is acting like a company that is responsible for conducting the election campaign of a specific party and its presidential candidate.
Referring to Article 13 of the law governing RTÜK, which says the TRT general manager is to be removed if he or she violates the rule of impartiality, Demirdöğen and Taşçı called for the implementation of this article for Eren.
TRT is being heavily criticized by opposition parties for not giving sufficient election coverage to them and prioritizing the campaign of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader, current president and presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The RTÜK members also included an information chart in their petition that shows the amount of airtime given by TRT to the election campaign of each political party and presidential candidate.
In the meantime, according to calculations made by Transparency International, Erdoğan was given airtime of 105 minutes in TRT’s main news bulletins, while the presidential candidate of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been under pre-trial detention since November 2016, was given only three seconds of airtime in May.