The Latest: Chart shows Turkish candidates’ unequal coverage
ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections (all times local):
An opposition member of Turkey’s media watchdog has published a chart showing unequal airtimes on the state broadcaster for presidential and parliamentary candidates campaigning for Sunday’s elections.
The chart tweeted by Ilhan Tasci, a member of the Radio and Television Supreme Council, shows that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling party were broadcast for more than 181 hours on public TRT channels while main opponent Muharrem Ince and the leading opposition party were on air for only 16 hours.
Media coverage of the campaign has been lopsided in favor of Erdogan both on public and private channels.
The chart with data from mid-May to Friday shows jailed pro-Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtas and his party received only 32 minutes of airtime and no time on TRT’s Kurdish outfit. But a small Islamic-leaning Kurdish party supporting Erdogan was on the Kurdish channel for more than an hour.
The Swedish lawmaker of Turkish origin who was denied entry to Turkey as part of an international mission monitoring upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections says “the Turks do not decide which observers are going there.”
Jabar Amin of Sweden’s small Environment Party — one of four Swedish lawmakers acting as observers for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe — says he has returned to Sweden.
Turkey’s ambassador to Sweden, Emre Yunt, tells the Swedish public broadcaster that Amin was denied access because he could be biased after having been critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Yunt says Turkey had informed the OSCE, to which Amin replied that “it is possible that it was said while I was on the plane but I knew nothing about it.”
A European security and rights group says it “deplores” the denial by Turkey of two members of its observer mission for the upcoming Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly says Andrej Hunko, of Germany’s Left Party, and Jabar Amin, of Sweden’s small Environment Party, were denied entry “based on their publicly expressed political opinion.”
The group said Thursday from its Copenhagen office, that Turkey “should not — directly or indirectly — influence the composition of the ... mission.”
Hunko said the Turkish OSCE ambassador had informed him of the decision as he was about to depart for Ankara, while Amin had his passport seized upon arrival in Turkey and was prevented from leaving the airport.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking a gamble that will consolidate his hold on power in Turkey if he emerges victorious from Sunday’s landmark presidential and parliamentary vote.
But winning the election he called more than a year early might not be as straightforward as he might have hoped.
For the first time, Turkey’s disparate opposition — made up of secularists, nationalists, Islamists and Kurds — is showing a more united front, with some parties joining forces. Meanwhile the economy, to which Erdogan could once point as a shining example of his success in bringing prosperity to his people, is looking increasingly shaky.
“The polls suggest that for the electorate, the economic issues are overtaking security issues,” says Serhat Guvenc, professor at Kadir Has University.