Turkey’s Communications Chief Accuses Reuters of ‘Manipulation’

Fahrettin Altun, Director of Communications Directorate. Photo: Communications Directorate's Facebook Account

"This is not the first time that Reuters, an apparatus of perception operations and systematic manipulation targeting Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey, publishes misleading and fake news," Altun wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

A Reuters special report prepared by Jonathan Spicer wrote on Wednesday that from an office tower in Ankara, officials shape the nation's news - and always to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's advantage.

The report added that the Communication Directorate often calls journalists and editors by phone and sends WhatsApp massages to instruct the media about their coverage.

Altun dismissed the claims and insisted on their good work. "Being targeted by the UK-based news agency Reuters is a sign that we are on the right track and a badge of honour," Altun said.

Altun also accused Reuters of manipulation and fake news on certain topics, such as distorting Erdogan's statements, Turkey's military operations in Syria, the country's economic crisis and the failed coup attempt in 2016.

"This is the sort of news agency that attempts to target the Turkey Communications Model and the Directorate today. We know perfectly well Reuters' intentions, the purpose it serves and what it is doing for that purpose," Altun said.

Altun, who has no previous media experience, was appointed to head the Directorate of Communications in 2018 under the new presidential system, in which there are almost no checks and balances.

"The Directorate, with an annual budget of around 680 million lira ($38 million), was tasked with coordinating government communication. It grew out of the old Directorate of Media, Press and...

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