Turkish state media TRT on Tuesday launched a French-language platform, only a month after Kremlin-backed RT France was banned from broadcasting.
The Ankara-based organization, pitched as an “alternative media power,” announced that it would deliver news and opinion columns on politics, the economy, culture and society through its website and social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“Our French-language service will deliver rigorous, fact-driven journalism with an aim to improve the lives of disadvantaged, left-behind people,” said Omer Faruk Tanriverdi, TRT’s deputy director general, international broadcasts, in a press release.
He added that the network was interested in “bringing out the truth” to the hundreds of millions of French speakers around the world.
TRT’s French platform could become a thorn in President Emmanuel Macron’s side if he is reelected in April, in the same way that RT France was during his first term. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan openly said he considers the channel as a diplomatic tool to provide a new “window to the world” where “international media are basically identical.”
Erdoğan and the French head of state have had notoriously poor relations, and the Turkish leader did not shy away from calling Macron “a problem for France.”
TRT has launched four other international branches since 2016: in English with TRT World and in German with TRT Deutsch, along with TRT Arabic and TRT Russian.
The European Commission is working on a rulebook for foreign and domestic state-sponsored media outlets to crack down on disinformation, as RT and Sputnik’s hastily decided ban highlighted the lack of proper guidelines to deal with such media.