Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has fined opposition broadcaster Halk TV on the grounds that it aired renowned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş’s new story book Dad.
The fine was made public by RTÜK member İlhan Taşçı on social media on March 22.
Taşçı said that the TV channel was given a monetary fine for five percent of their advertisement revenue and suspended their program in which Demirtaş’s book was aired for five episodes on the grounds of “praising criminals.”
1- RTÜK, Selahattin Demirtaş’ın öykü kitabı Dad’ın tanıtıldığı Halk TV’ye suçluyu övmekten % 5 para 5 kez de program durdurma cezası verdi.”Bazı kitaplar vardır ki bombadan daha tesirli” olmaya devam ediyor! Kitaptan korkanlar ülkesi.— İlhan Taşcı (@ilhantasci) March 22, 2023
Terör örgütüne üyelik noldu?@ebekirsahin !
RTÜK’s head Ebubekir Şahin said on March 18 that “While the rules that the media should pay attention to as the elections are approaching are clear, provocative broadcasts made by Halk TV are unacceptable. It cannot be claimed that our country is colonialist, and a person convicted of being a member of an armed terrorist organization cannot be praised. The necessary investigation has been launched.”
Seçimler yaklaşırken medyanın dikkat etmesi gereken kurallar belliyken Halk TV’nin yapmış olduğu provokatif yayınlar kabul edilemez. Ülkemizin sömürgeci olduğu iddia edilemez, silahlı terör örgütüne üye olmaktan hükümlü bulunan biri övülemez. Gerekli inceleme başlatılmıştır. pic.twitter.com/h88xiqFOKv— Ebubekir Şahin (@ebekirsahin) March 18, 2023
In response, jailed former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said “There is no such sentence against me. Do not lie. You've kept me in a 12-square-foot cell for seven years, but every time my name is mentioned, you are worried. Because we are the people and we are right.”
Hakkımda örgüt üyeliğinden hüküm yok boş herif! Yalan söyleme.— Selahattin Demirtaş (@hdpdemirtas) March 18, 2023
Beni 7 yıldır 12 metrekarelik bir hücrede tutuyorsunuz ama ismim geçtikçe paçalarınız tutuşuyor. Çünkü biz halkız ve haklıyız.
Sen ve patronların ise gırtlağa kadar suça bulaşmış "tirsonekler"siniz! https://t.co/AM1p8czltr
Taşçı also said RTÜK fined Halk TV for airing opposition Good (İYİ) Party senior advisor Turhan Çömez’s remarks, who said that people on ventilators died because the electric generator did not work in Hatay’s Iskenderun district after the Feb. 6 earthquakes, on the grounds that it was “contrary to the principle of impartiality.”
Moreover, RTÜK fined Fox TV for criticizing Şanlıurfa Municipality over not preparing the province for floods on the grounds of “humiliating,” and Tele 1 for remarks deeming the ruling AKP “fascist.”
Demirtaş has been in prison since 2016. He faces hundreds of years in prison on charges related to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - designated a terrorist organization by Ankara - despite a previous European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that he was imprisoned on political grounds and should be released immediately.