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Alex Salmond has been criticised for launching a new show on a Turkish TV channel branded a ‘propaganda’ outlet for the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The fervent Scottish nationalist and former first minister appeared for the first time on broadcaster TRT World this week, in a show called Turkish Tea Talk.

Mr Salmond has been accused of cosying up to a regime blamed for human rights abuses – with the Scottish Liberal Democrats calling him an ’embarrassment’.

The move is controversial because Mr Erdogan, who has been labelled an ‘authoritarian despot’, has branded the West’s approach to events in Gaza as ‘barbarism’ and accused Israel of behaving like a ‘war criminal’. 

He has also been accused of violent crackdowns on his nation’s Kurdish minority. 

Alex Salmond labelled an ’embarrassment’ after he announces new talk show for Turkish state TV (despite the country’s terrible human rights record) following his previous stint on Putin’s puppet channel Russia Today

The fervent Scottish nationalist and former first minister appeared for the first time on broadcaster TRT World this week, in a show called Turkish Tea Talk

He previously starred in The Alex Salmond Show which was broadcast by Vladimir Putin's puppet channel Russia Today between 2017 and 2022

He previously starred in The Alex Salmond Show which was broadcast by Vladimir Putin’s puppet channel Russia Today between 2017 and 2022

Salmond's show is controversial because President Erdogan, who has been labelled an 'authoritarian despot', has branded the West's approach to events in Gaza as 'barbarism' and accused Israel of behaving like a 'war criminal'

Salmond’s show is controversial because President Erdogan, who has been labelled an ‘authoritarian despot’, has branded the West’s approach to events in Gaza as ‘barbarism’ and accused Israel of behaving like a ‘war criminal’

The broadcaster TRT World is seen by the strongman’s critics as his own ‘propaganda arm’ which supports his regime’s suppression of free speech.

It is not the first time the Alba Party leader has used a TV channel linked with a controversial foreign leader to promote Scottish independence.

From 2017 he starred in The Alex Salmond Show which was broadcast by Vladimir Putin’s puppet channel Russia Today – despite the country invading the Ukranian peninsula of Crimea three years earlier.

But he was eventually forced to give up the presenting job following the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Kurdish-born Glasgow SNP councillor Roza Salih called the channel a ‘propaganda’ outlet, writing on Twitter/X: ‘Salmond have you learned nothing? First Putin now Erdogan!’

The councillor also called on Mr Salmond’s first guest Succession star and Scottish independence supporter Brian Cox to decline the invitation.

Mr Salmond's first guest was Succession star and Scottish independence supporter Brian Cox. The first episode featured the two men speaking for 26 minutes in a skyscraper overlooking the city of London where they discussed Cox's life and career

Mr Salmond’s first guest was Succession star and Scottish independence supporter Brian Cox. The first episode featured the two men speaking for 26 minutes in a skyscraper overlooking the city of London where they discussed Cox’s life and career

Salmond was eventually forced to give up the presenting job on Putin's broadcasting arm Russia Today following the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022

Salmond was eventually forced to give up the presenting job on Putin’s broadcasting arm Russia Today following the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022

Alex Salmond's move to the Turkish broadcaster as seen him criticised for 'only caring about his bank balance, where a lira is as good as a ruble'

Alex Salmond’s move to the Turkish broadcaster as seen him criticised for ‘only caring about his bank balance, where a lira is as good as a ruble’

The first episode featured the two men speaking for 26 minutes in a skyscraper overlooking the city of London where they discussed Cox’s life and career. 

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: ‘The only lesson Alex Salmond seems to have learned from his stint on Putin’s propaganda channel is that autocrats pay well.

‘He’s an embarrassment to the high office that he used to hold.

‘I’d urge him to speak out next time President Erdogan has political opponents jailed or journalists beaten but everyone knows it’s futile because he only cares about his bank balance, where a lira is as good as a ruble.’

But a press release released described the new series as ‘fun’ adding it would ‘let the guests do the talking over a glass of Turkish Tea and give us all an insight into what makes them tick’.   

Mr Salmond said he was ‘relishing’ the opportunity to host the programme, adding ‘This series is a chance to broaden away from narrow politics and chat to fascinating people’.

The series is produced in conjunction with Sláinte Media, Mr Salmond’s production company. 

The row over the decision to broadcast on the Turkish TV channel comes after current Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf was embroiled in his own scandal with Turkish President Erdogan.

He was criticised heavily when it was revealed he invited the strongman to Scotland after the pair met at the Cop28 climate summit in Dubai last year. 

Mr Yousaf and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meeting during the Cop28 summit

Mr Yousaf and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meeting during the Cop28 summit

First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf with his wife Mrs El-Nakla

First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf with his wife Mrs El-Nakla

Attempting to defend his invitation, Mr Yousaf claimed both Scotland and Turkey are ‘on a human rights journey’.

Mr Yousaf’s Cop28 meeting with Mr Erdogan, on December 1, has already caused controversy because he did not ensure that officials from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) were present.

The latest development comes after the First Minister’s wife, Nadia El-Nakla, revealed that her sister-in-law and their four children had escaped from Gaza after the Turkish government intervened. 

Details of the conversation between Mr Yousaf and Mr Erdogan were revealed in a readout of the meeting provided to the Herald newspaper following a freedom of information request.

It said: ‘FM mentioned he was last in Turkey during Ramadan in 2022 and invited RTE to visit Scotland during a future visit to the UK. FM noted that their wives had met during the recent First Ladies and spouses of Leader’s Summit on Gaza in Turkey.’

Ms El-Nakla's parents Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla (pictured) became trapped in Gaza when Hamas launched its bloody cross-border attack

Ms El-Nakla’s parents Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla (pictured) became trapped in Gaza when Hamas launched its bloody cross-border attack

Mr Yousaf has been supporting a ceasefire in the Israel and Hamas war, unlike Prime Minister Rishi Sunak or leader of the opposition Keir Starmer. Picture shows a raging battle in Gaza

Mr Yousaf has been supporting a ceasefire in the Israel and Hamas war, unlike Prime Minister Rishi Sunak or leader of the opposition Keir Starmer. Picture shows a raging battle in Gaza

Mr Erdogan’s side of the conversation has been redacted, with the Scottish Government claiming that revealing it could ‘prejudice substantially relations between the UK and any other State’.

After the meeting, Mr Yousaf said they discussed the ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in Gaza and called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire – in contrast to the UK position on the issue.

Humanist Society Scotland chief executive Fraser Sutherland said at the time: ‘Erdogan is an authoritarian despot. He should not be welcomed to Bute House.’

The failure to ensure that FCDO officials were present angered Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron, who threatened to remove Scottish Government overseas staff from UK embassies if there were further breaches of the rules.

The invitation to Mr Erdogan appears to have also angered the SNP’s coalition partners, with Green MSP Ross Greer slamming the move.



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