Ekrem İmamoğlu, the mayoral candidate for İstanbul from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), on Tuesday evening appeared on the state-run Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) for the first time and criticized the broadcaster for favoring the ruling party’s candidate while discriminating against him.
TRT has long been criticized by opposition parties for serving as the mouthpiece of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as it gives extensive coverage to the AKP’s election campaigns while allowing little or no airtime for the campaigns of opposition parties in the run-up to elections in the country.
“Do you believe you are engaging in fair journalism at TRT? For instance, do you remember for how many times Mr. [Binali] Yıldırım [the AKP mayoral candidate for İstanbul] spoke on TRT before March 31? I even forget how many times it was,” İmamoğlu asked the hosts of the program, journalists Fatih Er and Şebnem Bursalı.
Turkey held local elections on March 31, and İmamoğlu won the election in İstanbul, according to the official results. However, Turkey’s election authority, in a controversial move on May 6, cancelled the results of the election in Turkey’s largest city, citing irregularities based on an objection filed by the AKP.
“I was the most promising candidate in the election and won the vote. Why didn’t you invite me? Did you get an order for that? ” he asked.
A repeat election will be held in İstanbul on June 23.