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Turkish broadcasting watchdog suspends Russian radio program over Gezi Park criticism

Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has ordered a five-day halt in broadcasting of a program on Rusya’nın Sesi Radio (RS FM; Russia’s Voice) for its criticism of police violence in the 2013 Gezi Park protests, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Monday.

A fine totaling 5 percent of the station’s advertising revenue for the five-day period was also imposed.

The program, titled “Seyr-i Sabah,” was hosted by veteran Turkish journalist Zafer Arapkirli, who during the show described how Abdullah Cömert and Berkin Elvan died during police intervention in the street protests.

According to journalist and former deputy Barış Yarkadaş, the RTÜK board considered the discussion terrorist propaganda, implying that the Gezi victims had ties to terrorist groups.

RTÜK’s opposition party representative İlhan Taşçı also said the government has always wanted to depict Gezi protestors as “terrorists” and that the decision echoed that long-standing intent.

The radio show will be back on the air on May 20.

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