Opposition Turkish TV station closes month after launch
The owner of the chain Cavit Çağlar has come under pressure from the Turkish authorities
A private Turkish television that had relayed the point of view of the pro-Kurdish opposition announced that it had to close less than a month after its launch in Turkey, a country regularly singled out for its attacks on press freedom.
Olay TV, majority-owned by businessman and former minister Cavit Caglar, began broadcasting on November 30 and had to cease programming on Friday. This closure was announced live on the channel.
Cavit Caglar said he made the decision to withdraw his investment because the channel's editorial line was too close to pro-Kurdish opposition, but the channel's editor accuses him of simply giving in to the pressure of the government.
The channel's executive director, Suleyman Sarilar, explained that it had sought to maintain a balance between all components of Turkish society, which is very polarized: “But we have seen that we cannot continue this kind of broadcasting ( …) Cavit (Caglar) said he was under intense pressure from the government, and he could not continue, ”he said.
Cavit Caglar, meanwhile, accused Olay TV in a statement of having abandoned his impartiality and being "too close to the line of the (pro-Kurdish party) HDP", which the government accuses of being a "political showcase" Kurdish separatists from the PKK.
“I am active in center-right politics and I have served my country, and I was unsettled by the Olay TV editorial papers. I spoke to my partner about it, and I offered to restore the balance by bringing other journalists into the channel, ”he explained. “When he refused, I informed him that I couldn't continue and had to withdraw. "
Very poor student of press freedom
Turkey is frequently criticized for its restrictions on press freedom and is one of the worst countries in the world for imprisoning journalists, ranked by Reporters Without Borders 154th out of 180 countries.
The vast majority of the mainstream media are owned by relatives or allies of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"The closure of a television channel on its 26th day is in itself a blow to press freedom and a new episode in the theft of public access to information," lamented Utku Cakirozer, MP of the opposition CHP party. It is obvious that the person in charge of the channel made such a decision under pressure from the government. "