Turkey's Press Advertisement Agency (BİK) imposed a 129-day advertisement ban against daily Cumhuriyet over the last two years, 74 days of which were issued for this year alone, Chief Editor Aykut Küçükkaya said in a column on Sept. 27.
"BİK let us know that they would enforce the first 35 days of the advertisement ban in October. BİK seems to be going for a record with its financial sanctions against press freedom," Küçükkaya wrote.
The record bans are a reaction to reporting on illegal construction by Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, the chief editor noted.
BİK had already issued 55 days of bans on the daily in 2020, Küçükkaya noted, adding that the advertisement distribution authority no longer served its purpose of fair dispersion of advertisement revenues.
"Forty years after its foundation, this institution is unfortunately used as a financial and economic oppression tool against reporting that's critical [of the government]," Küçükkaya said.
Noting that municipal documents showed the illegal construction by Altun, Küçükkaya said that the BİK had already issued a 55-day advertisement ban on Cumhuriyet for its reporting.
"Our readers revolted and showed unprecedented solidarity. They protested the advertisement ban and guarded our paper against financial troubles," the chief editor said.
The Press Advertisement Agency is under the jurisdiction of Communications Director Altun, who makes complaints about reports against him to the agency, editor in chief had written in a Nov. 2, 2020 column.