The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has issued a strong warning against Turkish broadcaster CNN Türk for its programs praising the military's interference in politics.
The council received several complaints from viewers due to a discussion program on the channel aired on May 4 named “Ankara Kulisi” (Ankara Lobby), during which participants reportedly praised the idea of a coup d'etat against the democratically elected government. After similar programs appeared on the channel in the following weeks, the RTÜK decided to issue a warning against CNN Türk. The warning is a first in Turkish broadcasting history, as no channel had been warned or fined for pro-coup programs before.
The warning came after a series of meetings of RTÜK members, who convened to discuss whether it was a crime for broadcasters to praise coups or military interventions during their programs. The members decided that CNN Türk violated the law with its pro-coup programs and issued a warning against the broadcaster.
A number of well-known jurists, among which were former Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Sabih Kanadoğlu, Judges and Prosecutors Association (YARSAV) Chairman and Supreme Court of Appeals prosecutor Ömer Faruk Eminağaoğlu, former prosecutor Vural Savaş, journalist Deniz Som, retired military judge Ümit Kardaş and a former chief prosecutor of the now-dissolved State Security Court (DGM), Mete Göktürk, appeared on “Ankara Kulisi.”
The participants of the program discussed whether it would be crime to plan a coup d'etat, and most claimed it would not.
The RTÜK, however, decided that the program violated the principle of the rule of law and asked the station to prepare a defense. The council is expected to hear the broadcaster's defense today. If the broadcaster fails to convince the council with its defense, it may face a heavy pecuniary penalty. CNN Türk was slapped with TL 250 billion in fines in 2008, becoming Turkey's most-fined broadcaster.