Despite the fact that reporters from three mainstream Turkish news agencies are following and reporting on what is happening in the northeastern province of Dersim, these reports are not being published by the agencies, said Mayor Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu.
Maçoğlu told the daily BirGün that the İhlas News Agency (İHA) had not been publishing news regarding the municipality for quite some time, and recently the Demirören News Agency (DHA) and the state-run Anatolian News Agency (AA) have imposed a de facto embargo on the province.
Maçoğlu is the only mayor in the country elected from the Turkish Communist Party (TKP). Prior to being elected as the provincial mayor of Dersim, which is officially called Tunceli but is more commonly referred to by its former name, Maçoğlu was the mayor of the district of Ovacık, where he became popular nationwide for his extensive agricultural efforts in the region, the products of which have been sold all over the country.
“This practice both punishes the public and also prevents them from being informed about what the Dersim Municipality is doing. When some of our reporter friends asked why these news stories were not being published, we heard that they were put on a two-month leave,” Maçoğlu said, adding that because Dersim is an opposition municipality, the news agencies are excluding it from their agenda.
“This is why censorship and the embargo are being implemented. We can’t force anyone to publish our news, but to report on what is happening here and then not publish it is not right,” Maçoğlu said.