The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) continues its repressive and punitive measures against opposition media outlets. During its customary weekly session centered on monitoring cases, RTÜK rendered three instances of program suspension and imposed a three percent administrative penalty on TELE1 and KRT. KRT's penalty was attributed to the language employed in the "Haftanın Panorama" program, where references to the HDP and Kurdish voters were deemed in violation of broadcasting standards, specifically those governing "the inseparable unity of the state with its land and people." Meanwhile, Tele1's "Forum Weekend" program allegedly contained content that denigrated headscarves and belittled families enrolled in Quran courses. Consequently, the channel was penalized for pursuing a broadcasting approach that was "antithetical to national and ethical values."4
In the lead-up to the May 2023 elections, we have periodically highlighted within this Bulletin the measures enacted by the government to instill fear and assert control over opposition media outlets. Evident from RTÜK's consecutive resolutions subsequent to the elections, the media sector stands as a realm where the government has displayed the utmost assertiveness against opposition entities. Both the Chairman's stance and the Board's determinations lean toward penalizing opposition channels whenever a chance arises. Nevertheless, this approach not only curtails the freedom of expression and information but also contributes to Turkey's descent in international press freedom rankings.
Conversely, while the government exhibited inklings of reverting to "rational policies" and conventional economics following the elections, it persistently clings to its former repressive tactics concerning freedom of expression, information, and the right to assembly and demonstration. The government's assumption that it can reconcile these diametrically opposed strategies rests on an unfounded illusion. This scenario underscores that the government's approach to democracy and development lacks a comprehensive perspective, as it predominantly pursues policies tailored to elongating its political tenure.
However, it's imperative to acknowledge that within an environment where journalists are gripped by the specter of arrest, media outlets are coerced into prioritizing political over market relations, and experience pressure from both ruling and opposition factions (as exemplified in the CHP's intricate rapport and schism with Halk TV), "rational policies" are incapable of attaining the desired objective. The coexistence of authoritarian governance and liberal economics has only found success in a handful of nations, while in numerous countries, including Turkey, the former has tended to expand at the expense of the latter. If the government's aspiration is to elevate Turkey into a prosperous state, it must recognize that selective rational policies will not suffice. A comprehensive approach to rights and freedoms is imperative.