The Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has ordered a halt to a television program on Halk TV for five episodes, while also ruling for an administrative fine, over on-air comments of the main opposition Republican People’s (CHP) Istanbul provincial chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu during an episode.
The decision was made public by İlhan Taşçı, a member of the media watchdog from the CHP. Taşçı wrote on his Twitter account on May 7 that Kaftancıoğlu’s remarks critical of the government on Halk TV’s “Sözüm Var” program on April 30 were considered to be “instigating public hatred and animosity.”
“RTÜK considered CHP Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu’s remarks of ‘I see a change of the ruling power, this is what I think’ as ‘instigating public hatred and animosity’ and imposed an administrative fine of 5 percent [of total gross commercial communication revenue within the month] and ordered the halt of five episodes,” Taşçı wrote.
“The decision of Canan Kaftancıoğlu was approved by Radio and Television Supreme Council by a majority of the votes, three against it, six in favor of it,” he also said.
Kaftancıoğlu criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on “Sözüm Var” program — moderated by Şirin Payzın — on April 30 and said that the AKP will no longer be the political party in power in the upcoming period as a result of “an early election or in another way.”
“There is this reality that the ruling power’s fears, drifts and its doing things with the reasoning of one person – and not based on wisdom, but on rage and greed – is not taking them anywhere good at all. In the upcoming period, I see a change of the ruling power with an early election or in another way, even a system change. People got awakened in this country,” Kaftancıoğlu said.
Several AKP officials as well as pro-government media outlets have interpreted Kaftancıoğlu’s phrase of “in another way” as “calling for a coup,” with even some issuing a threat message for the CHP official.
“The CHP provincial chair is looking for adventures appropriate for her genes. She should know that the Bosphorus [water] is cool this season and deep in the summer,” AKP Istanbul chair Bayram Şenocak wrote on Twitter on April 30.
Kaftancıoğlu been credited as the person behind the CHP’s municipal election victory in Istanbul last year. The CHP’s victory ended the 25 year-rule of the AKP and its predecessor Welfare (“Refah”) Party in the megacity.
In September of 2019, Kaftancıoğlu was sentenced to nine years and eight months in prison for old tweets that allegedly spread terrorist propaganda. The CHP has said the conviction is politically motivated and is a “revenge” for the AKP’s loss in Istanbul as the trial began shortly after Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu’s re-run win.
Kaftancıoğlu appealed the conviction and has not been imprisoned during this appeal process.