back to top

Ofcom Receives Complaints That UKIP's Party Broadcast Is Racist

A Lib Dem spokesperson accused UKIP's TV advert raising concerns about Turkey joining the EU of "demonising an entire country and all its people".

Posted on

UKIP's latest party broadcast focusing on the "risks" of Turkey's candidacy to join the European Union has been accused of being Islamophobic and racially biased.


The broadcast, which was shown on both the BBC and ITV on Thursday night, urged people to vote to leave the EU in the UK's upcoming referendum because David Cameron supports Turkey's application.

Set to traditional-sounding Arabic music, it raised fears that the Turkish population is set to rise by 9 million in the next seven years and said the country's practising Christian population was falling while Islam was thriving.

As well as fears of a rise in migration, the clip also cited reports that said women in Turkey were "ten times more likely to suffer physical violence".

The broadcast prompted 35 official complaints to the television regulator Ofcom, who is now considering whether to launch an investigation.

One of the strongest complaints came from the Liberal Democrats, who accused UKIP of "stomach-turning, dog-whistle politics" and accused the right-wing party of "demonising an entire country and all its people".

Lib Dem equalities spokeswoman Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece, the only British parliamentarian of Turkish descent, said: "The large Turkish community in the UK has made an enormous economic and social contribution over many decades. They play a vital and vibrant role in our society and shouldn't be subject to Nigel Farage's nasty politics."

Party leader Tim Farron accused UKIP of inciting a "politics of division". He said: "Wherever you stand on the European campaign, inciting hatred, by getting down in the gutter in a desperate grab for votes debases politics."

A spokesperson for Ofcom said: "We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate or not."

A number of people also tweeted about the broadcast after Lib Dem peer Baroness Sal Brinton criticised it during an episode of Question Time on Thursday night.

My mum was very distressed by the UKIP broadcast. They should visit North London & see the contribution made by people from Turkey #bbcqt

UKIP's Party Political Broadcast was utter-nationalistic bull sh*t. It had clear racist and Islamophobic undertones. Shame on them!!! #bbcqt

don't like UKIP's broadcast but entirely reasonable to bring up Turkish accession to the EU. It's in the EU's plans for the future.

In a statement, UKIP said people were simply reacting to an "uncomfortable truth" and dismissed the Lib Dems as no longer relevant.

"It is an uncomfortable truth but a truth nonetheless that Turkey is an EU candidate country, whose candidacy has the wholehearted support of the British political establishment including the Liberal Democrats and the Prime Minister," the statement read.

"The Lib Dems do not want people to know this, as they do not want people to know the truth about much of what is happening in the EU. It is a sad truth that press freedom in Turkey is almost non-existent, that political pluralism is on the retreat and that the social economic and cultural differences between Turkey and the EU, and the UK in particular are vast.

"We note that the Lib Dems are reduced to attack a UKIP party political broadcast in an attempt to claim relevance, what a sad end to a once important party."

You can see the full broadcast here.

View this video on YouTube

Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.