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Turkey: Olay TV is discontinued

AWhen editor-in-chief Süleyman Sarilar addressed the viewers of his station Olay TV for the last time last Friday evening, the journalists and employees streamed into the studio, they gathered around him and clapped in protest, while Sarilar said that the station was because of the increasing pressure the government had to stop operating on the main donor. Then it got dark in the studio and on the screens.

Rainer Hermann

This means that another independent voice from Turkey has fallen silent. In the hours that followed, many of the journalists who had become unemployed again spoke up on social media. Also the main presenter Nevsin Mengü, who never made a secret of her critical attitude towards the Erdogan government and was therefore fired from the news channel CNN Türk.

Olay TV does not cease operations because the RTÜK supervisory authority had revoked its license, nor because a court had banned the station. The government’s pressure on donors has simply become too great, reported editor-in-chief Sarilar frankly. The main shareholder Cavit Caglar, a textile entrepreneur from Bursa, passed the buck and accused Sarilar of giving too much space to the pro-Kurdish party HDP.

Not the first setting of the station

It is not the first time that the station that Caglar founded in 1994 has been discontinued. In 2008, the Turkish state confiscated all the companies in the over-indebted Caglar. He had previously been sentenced to several years in prison for fraud in the privatization of a bank. The long-standing close confidante of the former Prime Minister Süleyman Dermirel, however, also became important to the AKP governments because of his good relations abroad. In 2010 he got his business back, including the media.

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