Duvar English

The head of Turkey’s media watchdog has backtracked from his earlier remarks on refusing to fine a pro-government channel over an Islamist commentator’s remarks on her family’s “capability” to kill at least 50 people if a new coup attempt is undertaken in Turkey.

Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) head Ebubekir Şahin said that Sevda Noyan’s death threats made on Ülke TV are “unacceptable,” contradicting his earlier statements on RTÜK being “not in a position to sentence the statements made against those who praise a coup.”

“Sevda Noyan’s remarks are unacceptable in terms of RTÜK principles. No one should doubt that the RTÜK will do what’s necessary in its board meeting in line with its founding objectives,” Şahin said on May 18 following backlash.

Noyan on May 8 was commenting on the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt when she suddenly started to hurl threats.

“We could not do what we really wanted to do during July 15. We got caught unprepared. Let this be fully understood. Our family has a capability of taking [executing] 50 people. We are very prepared for this – both financially and spiritually. We stand by our leader [President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan],” she said.

Noyan said that those “calling for a new coup attempt” in Turkey should “watch their steps,” adding: “There are still 3-5 people in our residential building complex [calling for a coup attempt], my list is ready.”

Şahin on May 18 said that the people and the state will respond powerfully to those who want another July 15 “under legitimate circumstances,” but that Noyan’s remarks are “unlawful.”

“Unlawful calls and promoting violence are among our red lines that we can’t make concessions to. As soon as the relevant expert report is introduced to the higher board, the RTÜK will do what’s necessary. This has been our perspective since the first day,” he said.

On May 15, Şahin had a completely different stance on the issue.

“The reports on Ülke TV will be referred to the higher board. However, if a penalty will be given, it should not be one that makes coup lovers and praisers happy,” he said three days earlier.