These sanctions against the media outlets follow a direct warning to journalists and broadcasters by the regulating agency that they had a legal obligation not to share information that harms the search and rescue efforts in the earthquake zone and causes panic and disinformation. Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council simply cannot look the other way when organizations make manipulative broadcasts with malicious intent — this is in line with the clear language of the earthquake disaster declaration.
The three TV stations were fined for criticizing President Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party for poor performance in coordinating search and rescue efforts following the earthquake. The authorities allegedly failed to mobilize enough people, and the coordination among the teams functioned poorly. This inefficient performance contributed to earthquake victims tragically freezing to death underneath the rubble. Punishing media for reporting and informing the public — especially in times of a major catastrophe — is a crime and should not happen in a democracy.
There is a 59% chance that Erdoğan will abdicate the presidency if he loses the 2023 presidential election, according to the Metaculus prediction community.