With less than a month before the Turkish people go to the polls to elect a president for the first time in their history, a dispute has broken out on the disproportionate amount of media coverage Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been receiving on public television as opposed to the other two candidates. Turkey’s first popular presidential election is mired in controversy over its fairness. Both of the rivals of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the August presidential election are crying foul. Selahattin Demirtas, candidate for the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, is accusing Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT of blatant bias favoring Prime Minister Erdogan.
Demirtas said that in a period of a few days Erdogan received 305 minutes of coverage on one TRT channel, while the other candidates received no coverage. Adding on another TRT channel, it gave the prime minister 204 minutes and three minutes to other candidates. Demirtas said the the prime minister should fire the general director of TRT out of shame.
The figures given by Demirtas have been confirmed by the RTUK, the state broadcasting regulator. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the joint candidate of the Nationalist Action Party and Republican People’s Party, also has strongly criticized the state broadcaster’s coverage.