In Turkey / Türkiye

Today’s Zaman, Jan 11, 2016  (and related stories further below)

The Bakırköy Chief Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation into “Beyaz Show” host Beyazıt Öztürk, the program’s producer and a caller for allegedly spreading terrorist propaganda during the show’s airing last Friday.

Turkish television host Beyazıt Öztürk (photo Cihan)

Turkish television host Beyazıt Öztürk (photo Cihan)

Ayşe Çelik, after introducing herself to the host of the talk show as a teacher, expressed her frustrations last Friday, saying the media is not accurately portraying the conflict in southeastern Turkey and that children are dying due to clashes between security forces and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In a statement released on Monday, the Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office said the investigation was launched on Jan. 9 against the three individuals over allegations that terrorist propaganda was disseminated during the show’s live broadcast on Jan. 8.

“The CD [recording] of the program has been taken for examination and the manager responsible for the program, the program host and the person who called in to the show have been brought under the scope of the investigation,” the statement reads.

Even though both Kanal D, which broadcasts the program, and host Öztürk apologized for what Çelik said on the program, the Bakırköy Chief Prosecutor’s Office are reportedly investigating both Öztürk and the program’s producer, claiming they disseminated the terrorist organization’s ideas.

The Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office had opened an investigation into Çelik previously, also for allegedly spreading terrorist propaganda.

Seeming surprised to hear these comments on his talk show on Friday night, Öztürk thanked the woman. “We have been trying to get people to hear about what is happening as much as we can. What you said has taught us a lesson. We will continue to do more. I hope your wishes for peace come true as soon as possible,” he said and asked the guests at the studio to applaud Çelik.

Öztürk and Kanal D were then targeted by pro-government circles, which accused them of spreading PKK propaganda. Some media outlets and pro-government Twitter users even labeled Öztürk a traitor.

The Ministry of Education released a statement on Saturday saying that Çelik is not a teacher working in Diyarbakır.

TV host apologizes after guest’s comments calling for end to deaths in southeast, Today’s Zaman, Jan 10, 2016

Opposition party leader slams smear campaign against ‘teacher’

Today’s Zaman, Jan 10, 2016  (full text)

Co-chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş criticized a smear campaign launched against “Teacher Ayşe,” who called for peace on a television program and has since been targeted by pro-government circles, during his speech at the party’s İstanbul provincial meeting held on Sunday morning.

He denounced as slanderous the attacks against the woman who identified herself as a teacher named Ayşe Çelik, a Friday evening telephone guest on Kanal D‘s popular talk show ‘Beyaz Show’. Kanal D is owned by the Dogan Media Group.

However, even though the woman introduced herself as a teacher, the Ministry of Education released a written statement on Sunday saying that she is not a teacher working for the ministry.

Çelik expressed her frustrations to the host of the show, Beyazıt Öztürk, saying the media is not accurately portraying the conflict in the southeast of Turkey and underlining that children are dying due to clashes between security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Çelik subsequently became the target of an aggressive smear campaign by pro-government circles calling the woman a provocateur. Demirtaş condemned these attacks, saying, “Immediately after a woman calls for peace on a TV show, they launch a smear campaign against her and the television program. Why do they want to scare someone who says ‘people should not die’ so badly? Because they are not trying to scare Teacher Ayşe, but everyone who might agree with her,” stated Demirtaş.

The co-chairman also made jabs at mainstream media and condemned the Doğan Media Group for turning into a pro-government mouthpiece by vilifying his party and dividing the country during the ongoing clashes in the country’s Southeast. He condemned columnists and journalists working for pro-government outlets for painting a picture that portrays his party as terrorists, traitors and separatists.

He lamented the state of the media and its biased coverage of the news. According to Demirtaş the HDP is continuing its work and campaigned during election season against all odds. “With Dogan Media at the forefront, we were attacked by all media groups. Before the June 7 elections, I appeared on only six television programs while our opponents appeared on nearly 170,” he said, adding, “We are being attacked by the media on orders given by the AK Party [Justice and Development Party].”

He also noted that critical media outlets such as the Cumhuriyet daily and the Dicle News Agency (DİHA) are being silenced by the jailing of their journalists.

Read also:
774 journalists fired, 156 detained last year in Turkey: CHP, Hurriyet Daily News, Jan 11, 2016

‘Almost 800 journalists were fired in Turkey last year, while 156 were detained and nearly 500 legal actions were taken against journalists by judicial authorities, according to a senior member of the country’s main opposition party.’


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