Petition Demands CNN Pull Its Name From CNN Turk Over Protest Blackout

CNN International is coming under heavy scrutiny as its Turkey-based CNN Turk reportedly continues to turn a blind eye to protests sweeping across the nation and the brutal crackdown by police.

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Viewers of news coverage around the world have seen a wide range of images and footage from Istanbul and other Turkish cities where anti-government demonstrations have been met with violence.

But according to countless tweets, reports and blog posts from Turks in the short time since the police began to pepper spray, tear gas and beat protesters gathered in Istanbul's Taksim Square on Friday, CNN Turk (aka CNN Türk) has been ignoring the protests and the crackdown.

Some Turks report that CNN Turk has instead broadcast a range of bland programming dealing with banal topics like Ms. Turkey, "the strangest cat in the world" and more. While CNN broadcast live coverage of the protests and crackdown on Sunday, a penguin documentary was reportedly being shown on CNN Turk.

And now there are documented numbers to show that many people are outraged by CNN Turk's apparent determination to avoid covering the so-called "Turkish Spring," which has become the most significant protest in Turkey's recent history and the scene of a shockingly violent crackdown.

More than 73,000 people had signed a Change.org petition demanding that CNN International pull its name from CNN Turk as of Tuesday afternoon, and the number of signatures is growing fast.

The petition, posted by Zeynep Erekli of Istanbul, is called "CNN International must pull its name franchise from CNN Turk." Here's the full text of the petition, in Turkish and English:

Turkish: 31 "Mayıs'ta başlayan İstanbul protestolarını ve sokakta yaşananları yayınlamadığı için CNN Türk artık bir haber kanalı olarak faaliyet göstermeye devam edemez. CNN gibi saygıdeğer bir kurum isminin bu şekilde kullanılmasına izin vermemeli."

English: "After failing to report the Istanbul events CNN Turk can no longer continue its activity as a proper news channel. CNN must not allow its prestige to be used in such a way and must pull its name right immediately."

The stated goal of 100,000 signatures seems well within reach, especially as the petition gains traction via social media and news reports. In fact, even iReport, CNN's online citizen journalism initiative, has published a story "not vetted by CNN" about the petition that calls on the network to abandon the CNN Turk brand.

"Hello CNN, as you know Turkish people are uprising against the dictatorship with a series of demonstrations," the article's author, Okan Ertek states, before providing information about the Change.org petition. "While this happens with a couple of exceptions Turkish Media is ignoring to broadcast the events. Unfortunately CNN TURK is not one of the exceptions, CNN TURK is highly controlled by the ruling power and still hiding the truth from it's real customers, the people of Turkey."

CNN International and CNN Turk appears not to have issued a public response to the petition, and a number of CNN press contacts did not immediately respond to phone or email requests seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.

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