In its statement released on Friday, the association denounced Köktürk’s remarks as “prejudiced, narrow and antagonizing,” characterizing the comments as “unacceptable.”
Köktürk presented a question in Parliament on Thursday to be answered by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç asking if it was proper for the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) to be part of an “association composed of managers of media outlets that unconditionally back the government.” In response, the association’s board of directors released a statement condemning Köktürk for inflaming polarity in the Turkish media sector.
“We respond to CHP deputy from Zonguldak Mr. Ali İhsan Köktürk’s allegations and imputations against our association and one of its members, TRT General Director İbrahim Şahin, with regret. This prejudiced, narrow and antagonizing approach accusing professional media organizations of having a political preference is unacceptable. Aiming to discredit Turkey’s prominent media outlets, which address large segments of society, and our member TRT, which is a pioneering public broadcaster, this approach is an affront to press freedom and civil society’s rights. Accusing public or private media outlets and their managers of any kind of civil society activity is not seen in any contemporary democratic society. We call on Mr. Köktürk to rethink this attitude of his,” the association’s statement read.
In addition to TRT, the association has the Zaman, Star, Yeni Şafak, Bugün and Türkiye dailies, Kanal 7 TV station and the Turkuvaz Media Group as members. The association, whose chairman of the board is renowned cartoonist Salih Memecan, is seen as the hallmark of a new era for the Turkish media industry, which has long been dominated by powerful monopolies.