TRT hits back at İnce, claims sufficient airtime allocated to his campaign

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Presidential candidate of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Muharrem Ince (C) speaks with his wife Ulku Ince (2nd L) as they applaud next to Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu (2nd R) and his wife Selvi Kilicdaroglu (R) during a meeting of CHP's parliamentary candidates and election bulletin at JW Marriot Hotel in Ankara, on May 26, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Turkey’s state-run Turkish Radio and Television (TRT), which is being criticized by Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce as well as other opposition parties for not allocating sufficient airtime to their election campaigns, has denied these allegations in a statement, claiming that it covered İnce’s campaign for 125 minutes in one week.

Campaigns are in full swing for snap parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey slated for June 24.

TRT is being heavily criticized by opposition parties for not giving sufficient election coverage to them and prioritizing the campaign of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader, current president and presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

A statement released on the TRT website on Tuesday says the accusations directed at the station have reached the level of threat while claiming that TRT remains loyal to the principles of public broadcasting.

In the statement TRT said the station being made a target in the election rallies of the political parties has created concerns about the safety of its employees.

Earlier this month, İnce called on TRT to broadcast his campaign rallies, warning that he would go to their offices with 130 members of parliament to protest if TRT continues to discriminate against him and his gatherings.

“We had a rally in Yalova. I have not seen such a thing in Yalova in the last 40 years. But TRT didn’t broadcast it. This is my final warning. I will not repeat it. TRT is not your father’s farm. TRT belongs to 80 million people,” said İnce during an election rally in Balıkesir.

Responding to a claim from İnce, who said TRT allocated him 16 minutes while it covered Erdoğan for 117 minutes between May 13-20, TRT’s statement said İnce’s statement concerns the TRT news station, not the entertainment station TRT 1.

It said Erdoğan has two identities as president and presidential candidate and that they should not be confused, adding that the station has to broadcast Erdoğan’s activities as president.

According to TRT’s statement İnce was covered for 125 minutes on TRT between May 13-20. The station also reports on İnce’s activities on its social media accounts, it said.

With a reference to İnce, TRT claimed that “inaccurate information and threatening remarks do not conform with the election promises of a politician who has announced his desire to rule Turkey.”

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