Turkey: Private television station closes just 26 days after opening

Just under a month after it opened, the private Turkish television broadcaster Olay TV ceased operations. The broadcaster was too close to the opposition HDP party in its reporting, said owner and entrepreneur Cavit Caglar. Editor-in-chief Süleyman Sarilar, on the other hand, blamed government pressure for the closure in a post before the broadcast closed on Friday.

Caglar accused the station’s editor-in-chief of being too close to the pro-Kurdish opposition and the HDP, which the government accuses of ties to banned Kurdish organizations. Olay TV only went on the air on November 30th and had also spread pro-Kurdish opinions.

Editor-in-chief Sarilar contradicted: The station had tried to keep an equal distance from all parts of polarized Turkish society. “We see, however, that we cannot go on with this type of reporting,” said Sarilar in a speech before the broadcast closed. Caglar told him that he was under enormous pressure from the government.

Turkey is regularly criticized internationally for its systematic restriction of the freedom of the press. The country currently ranks 154th out of 180 countries on the list of the organization Reporters Without Borders on freedom of the press. Most of the major Turkish media companies belong to family members or confidants of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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