Turkish media reported in May that Turkish state broadcaster TRT will establish an international digital platform as an alternative to Netflix so Turkey can “better explain” its stand on the national and international levels. According to a report by Turkish Minute:
May 9, 2022 Turkish state broadcaster TRT will establish an international digital platform that will be an alternative to Netflix, the popular American streaming service and production company, its president has announced. TRT General Manager Mehmed Zahid Sobacı, who spoke at a youth event in the southern province of Antalya on Sunday, said TRT would establish the digital and youth platforms in 2023 and would invest more money in the production of movies and games. In his speech at the event, Sobacı said as the public broadcaster, they have a responsibility to acknowledge that the global system is in crisis and that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also been warning about it. “At a time when the global system is in crisis, you, as a country, have to better explain your stand on the national and international level. You need to eliminate the effects of the crisis on your country. You need to strengthen the relationship between the nation and the state,” said Sobacı.
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The report notes that Turkish President Erdoğan and his government officials have frequently attacked Netflix, claiming the platform spreads fake news and immorality. Netflix revealed in 2021 that it had removed selected titles from its Turkish catalogs in Turkey in 2020 following government requests.
In January, international media reported that Turkey’s ruling government is increasingly trying to control and influence art and culture, citing Erdoğan’s remarks that the “most powerful weapons of those who manage the global system today are the tools of culture”:
During the Presidential Culture and Arts Grand Awards ceremony in December 2021, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed the crowd, saying, “The stronger you are in culture and arts, the more you can direct and manage your environment. It is a fact that the most powerful weapons of those who manage the global system today are the tools of culture.” President Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has slowly taken control over much of the country’s art and culture scene in the years since his ascent to power.
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The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) is the national public broadcaster of Turkey, funded by the Turkish government. The channel has been criticized in Turkey for its clear pro-government bias and providing little airtime for opposition parties, even during election campaigns. TRT offers online news services in Turkish and 36 other languages, including French, German, and Spanish. While its international English-language channel TRT World has rebranded itself to join the ranks of BBC and Al Jazeera, it has been criticized for disseminating content primarily aimed at swaying the perceptions of an international audience in favor of the Erdoğan government’s domestic and foreign policy objectives.