The Turkish broadcasting watchdog RTUK on Wednesday ordered broadcaster Halk TV to pay a fine after it criticised Azerbaijan over deadly clashes in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The penalty follows derogatory, insulting and slanderous remarks against the state of Azerbaijan and President Ilham Aliyev, a RTUK member, who asked to remain anonymous, told dpa.
The fine equals 3 per cent of the media organisation’s monthly advertisement income and is the highest cash penalty RTUK can give. The exact amount was not immediately clear.
During a Halk TV show on Tuesday, government-critical journalist Levent Gultekin described Azerbaijan as an authoritarian country with no democracy and rule of law.
“Is Azerbaijan really a state? It is a tribe,’’ Gultekin said, and suggested Azerbaijan could be planning to invade Armenian territories.
Gultekin told dpa by phone that he only criticised the Azerbaijani leadership and had not intended to offend with his remarks.
RTUK has separately condemned Armenian agression against Azerbaijan, the source said.
At the end of September, Halk TV had to suspend broadcast for five days following criticism of Turkey’s military involvement in Syria.
Ankara backs predominantly Muslim and Turkic Azerbaijan and has offered to support Baku by all necessary means.
Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan under international law, but has been controlled by Armenians for decades.
The latest clashes are the deadliest between the two neighbours after fighting over the same region in late 80s and early 90s.
Edited By: Halima Sheji/Ali Baba-Inuwa