The AKP’s nominee Davut Dursun has been elected the new RTÜK president after the board’s controversial head Zahid Akman’s tenure expired Tuesday
Professor Davut Dursun, who is affiliated with the ruling party, has been elected as the new chairman of Turkey’s media watchdog.
The Supreme Board of Radio and Television, or RTÜK, convened Friday to elect its new president after the tenure of the controversial head of the board, Zahid Akman, expired Tuesday. Dursun was the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, candidate for the RTÜK presidency.
The state-run RTÜK is composed of nine members who are elected by the Turkish Parliament. The body is composed of six from the ruling AKP and three from the Republican People’s Party, or CHP. Akman was the AKP's previous nominee for the RTÜK presidency.
The duration of membership is six years while the duration of chairmanship is two years. President and vice-president are elected by a vote among the RTÜK members.
RTÜK’s name has come to the country’s attention in connection with corruption allegations leveled at RTÜK’s former head Akman and his connections with the corrupt German charity organization Lighthouse e.V., as revealed by the German courts.
In the Germany-based Lighthouse e.V. fraud case, which includes illegal money transfers of millions of euros in donated funds to Turkey in order to finance certain businesses, a German court ruled that the real culprits were in Turkey and marked 16 people as individuals involved in the scandal. Akman was one of the names but he has rejected the claims and continued to keep his position at RTÜK.
Following allegations against Akman, opposition parties called on Akman to resign from his post but Akman said he would not resign, instead declared his candidacy for another RTÜK term.
Akman’s post as RTÜK president has also created controversy between Akman and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, who is responsible for RTÜK. Arınç earlier made a public call for Akman to resign to keep RTÜK’s reputation from being tarnished by the Lighthouse claims. Arınç later said he had asked Akman to resign and that the RTÜK chief said he would serve until his term ends and not seek another one.
New president
RTÜK’s new president Davut Dursun was born in 1953 in Borcka, a town in the northeastern province of Artvin. The Turkish Parliament elected Dursun to RTÜK in July 2005.
He received his post-graduate education at Istanbul University's Social Sciences Institute. He holds a masters degree from the Economics Faculty Political Science Institute of the same university. He has an undergraduate diploma from the Communications Faculty of Istanbul University.
Dursun has held teaching positions in the Ministry of Education and also taught at the Uludag and Sakarya universities. He is the author of several books and has prepared various documentary films on crises in Turkish democracy in the past.