GeriGündem Turkish PM's attack on media casts shadow on supervisory bodies
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Turkish PM's attack on media casts shadow on supervisory bodies

Turkish Prime Minister's attack and threats on the country's largest media group showed an increased political pressure on the independent structure of supervisory and regulatory bodies of media, energy and universities.

Tayyip Erdogan had launched an attack on Aydin Dogan, the owner of Dogan Media Group, on the group's coverage of an ongoing court case in Germany in which a Turkish charity is accused of illegally transferring funds to Islamist pro-government media organs and the ruling party.

 

Erdogan's attack by using Dogan's other businesses raised question marks over the independence of supervisory and regulatory bodies. Under the law, such bodies have political and financial independence.

 

The supervisory and regulatory bodies are increasingly taking decisions in favor of pro-AKP companies and businessmen after Abdullah Gul elected as President who is appointing the board members.

 

ENERGY MARKET REGULATORY AUTHORITY (EPDK)

Petrol Ofisi, co-owned by Dogan Group and Austrian energy giant OMV, had applied in June 2006 for a license to build a refinery in Mediterranean town of Ceyhan, which is planned to be an energy hub as the intersection of oil pipelines.

 

A year later, EPDK rejected the demand, while granting preliminary license to a pro-AKP group, Calik, and its Indian partner IOC.

 

Erdogan said "Our Calik Group wants that, we promised this to them," Aydin Dogan said last week, quoting a private conversation between the two.

 

 

RADIO AND TELEVISION SUPREME COURT (RTUK)

The suspects in the charity fraud case claimed the chairman of RTUK, Zahid Akman, received money from the Deniz Feneri while he was heading a Turkish pro-government broadcaster, Kanal 7.

 

Erdogan said Dogan Group had negative coverage on Akman only because "RTUK has rejected a group's demand." CNNTurk, news channel of Dogan group, had applied to RTUK to gain terrestrial broadcasting rights.

 

The application is yet to be proved, but Erdogan's remarks that the demand was rejected raised eyebrows.

 

 

HIGHER EDUCATION BOARD (YOK)

YOK had become one of the strongest supporters of the government after the former AKP opponent chairman, Prof Erdogan Tezic, was replaced by Prof Yusuf Ziya Ozcan.

 

This was the first major appointment made by Gul after he took presidency.

 

Ozcan had supported the government-sponsored bill to lift headscarf ban in universities, and plans to change the arrangements that would help students from religious schools to study any major degree in universities.

 

A major scandal broke up a while after Ozcan took the helm. Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan's conversation with a ministry official was heard as the microphones were left open.

 

The official was heard as saying "The new YOK president is saying beautiful things" and Unakitan replied "It is up to him not to say so."

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