Erdoğan orders private TV channel to interview minister in prep school row, recording shows

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan allegedly ordered a TV manager to conduct a live interview with the education minister to present the government’s narrative on prep schools, a new voice recording posted on YouTube has revealed.
The voice recordings appears to show Saraç saying that he met with Erdoğan, who asked him to broadcast an interview with Education Minister Nabi Avcı after the Zaman daily published a critical news report about the closure of prep schools several months ago.

Daily Today’s Zaman cannot independently verify the authenticity of the voice recording.

Saraç is heard allegedly telling Habertürk editors Oğuz Usluer and Fatih Altaylı to immediately arrange a live broadcasting vehicle and go to wherever the minister is.

When the government decided to speed up the process of shutting down prep schools, Turkey’s most effective educational facilities, it sparked widespread outrage across the country. The public opposition against the government did not help as Parliament adopted the bill last week.

The pro-government media staunchly supported the government’s move and the latest revelation of the voice recording appears to shows the role of the prime minister in these reports.

Previous voice recordings also revealed that Erdoğan called Saraç to halt a speech of an opposition leader. Erdoğan later confirmed that he indeed called Saraç at Habertürk. He justified his actions during a press conference that he “had to educate journalists how to do their job as critics insult him.”

About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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