ISTANBUL, (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has told ruling party members to boycott media critical of his government, state Anatolian news agency reported.
Erdogan has over the past weeks clashed with Turkey’s largest media group Dogan Yayin over its reports of alleged corruption. The government denies any corruption links.
The row has raised questions about freedom of press in the European Union candidate. “In this country the media has lost its credibility. So I say to you, members of the party start a campaign against the media which publishes false news and do not take these papers to your homes,” Anatolian quoted Erdogan as saying on Thursday. “Are you carrying false campaigns based on lies against us? That’s OK. Now we use our most natural rights and start a
campaign against you and won’t buy your papers,” he said, in an apparent reference to Dogan Yayin.
Dogan Yayin, which controls almost half of Turkey’s print and broadcasting media, has covered a trial in Germany into an Islamic charity that was accused of embezzling millions of euros and sending some of the funds to Turkey, including to a pro-government religion television channel.
On Wednesday, three senior members of the charity were found guilty. Turkish authorities have begun investigating possible links to Turkey after coming under intense pressure from opposition parties, the media and members of the ruling party.
Erdogan has accused Dogan Yayin, controlled by billionaire Aydin Dogan, of “media terror” and blackmail.
Aydin Dogan told Reuters on Wednesday that he wanted an end to the row and rejected accusations that his media house only published negative stories about the government.