CNN Turk criticized for cutting opposition mayor interview

Ekrem Imamoglu, mayoral candidate of the main opposition Republican People's Party, CHP, speaks to the media in Ankara on May 7, 2019. (AP)
Updated 21 May 2019

CNN Turk criticized for cutting opposition mayor interview

  • Imamoglu countered that the interview was supposed to last 30 minutes more, but was told time was up
  • CNN Turk has been mocked in the past for toeing the government line

ISTANBUL: CNN’s Turkish channel was criticized Tuesday after it cut short an interview with the opposition candidate for Istanbul mayor as he began to talk about the municipality’s “extravagant” spending.

Social media users lashed out at CNN Turk after it stopped Monday night’s interview with Ekrem Imamoglu of the Republican People’s Party half an hour ahead of schedule.

One Twitter user @muratagirel suggested CNN Turk change the program’s name from “Unbiased Zone” to “Biased Zone.”

Imamoglu was dramatically stripped of his victory in March’s vote after the country’s top election body annulled the results over claims of “irregularities” and ordered a new election for June 23.

He is rarely given time on Turkish screens, whereas President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered almost daily televised speeches ahead of the March vote on behalf of ruling party candidate Binali Yildirim, a former prime minister.

Imamoglu was interrupted by the CNN Turk anchor as he began to talk about the lavish spending in Istanbul municipality which he said he discovered during his brief 18-day stint as mayor.

He held up placards depicting alleged waste, such as high numbers of unnecessary official cars, and said his campaign would focus on turning this information into savings. 

FASTFACT

Ekrem Imamoglu was interrupted by the CNN Turk anchor as he began to talk about the lavish spending in Istanbul municipality which he said he discovered during his 18-day stint as mayor.

This prompted the anchorman, Ahmet Hakan, first to interrupt him for a commercial break and then to end the program entirely when Imamoglu insisted on talking about the finances.

Imamoglu countered that the interview was supposed to last 30 minutes more, but was told time was up.

Many social media users reacted with anger, such as one person on Twitter who wrote: “Ahmet Hakan you are a very bad journalist ... are you aware that the time is up for you and those like you?”

The Istanbul Municipality responded late Monday, denying Imamoglu’s allegations about the official cars and said the claims amounted to “intentional distortion” to manipulate public opinion.

Turkey is ranked 157th in the world for press freedom by Reporters Without Borders, which says the government has increasingly seized control of media outlets and is the world’s biggest jailer of professional journalists.

CNN Turk has been mocked in the past for toeing the government line, particularly during the “Gezi Park” protests in 2013, when it ran a documentary about penguins instead of covering the demonstrations.

It is a joint venture of CNN’s parent company, Turner Broadcasting System International, and Turkey’s privately owned Dogan Media Group.

Dogan was sold last year to Demiroren Group, which has close ties to Erdogan.


Syria Kurds hand over four Daesh-linked children to Germany

Updated 21 min 47 sec ago

Syria Kurds hand over four Daesh-linked children to Germany

  • They included a boy and two sisters who had lost both parents, and a fatherless girl infant
  • A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry confirmed the handover to staff from its consulate

SIMALKA CROSSING: The Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria on Monday handed over four children linked with the Daesh group to Germany, their first such repatriation to the European country, an official said.
“The autonomous region handed over four children from Daesh families to a delegation from Germany,” said Fanar Kaeet, a foreign affairs official with the Kurdish authorities.
They included a boy and two sisters who had lost both parents, and a fatherless girl infant who was repatriated for health reasons, Kurdish authorities said.
All are under 10 years old, they said.
A spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry confirmed the handover to staff from its consulate in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan at the Simalka border crossing.
“I can confirm that four children who were in custody in northern Syria were able to leave Syria,” she said.
“The children were received on the Iraqi-Syrian border by staff of the consulate in Irbil and will be given to family members,” the spokeswoman said.
“From there, the children and their family members will, we believe, travel to Germany.”
Syria’s Kurds have spearheaded the US-backed fight against Daesh in Syria, and in March expelled the extremists from their last patch of territory in the war-torn country’s far east.
Even as they fight remaining sleeper cells, thousands of alleged Daesh fighters and family members are being held in their custody.
These include hundreds of suspected foreign fighters in their jails, and thousands of their alleged family members in overcrowded camps.
Western countries have been largely reluctant to repatriate their nationals.
But France and Belgium have brought a handful of orphans home, while the United States last year repatriated a woman with her four children.
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kosovo have repatriated dozens of women and children.
Daesh overran large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” there, but offensives in both countries have seen them lose that territory.
A dozen children of alleged jihadist fighters have been repatriated from Iraq to Germany since March.