ALEX Salmond has been branded a “useful idiot” after landing a show on a channel criticised as a mouthpiece for the authoritarian Turkish government.

The Alba leader has come under fire after announcing his new show on TRT called Turkish Tea Talk, the first episode of which will feature Succession star Brian Cox.

TRT claims it is editorially and financially independent of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration – but a 2016 article in The Spectator relayed quotes from anonymous insiders who said the authorities dictated its output.

The signing has attracted criticism from independence supporters, including Glasgow SNP councillor Roza Salih, who called the channel a “propaganda” outlet “led by Erdogan’s dictator regime”.

She added: “[Salmond] have you learned nothing? first Putin now Erdogan!!! Surely Brian Cox needs to rethink & decline this invitation.”

READ MORE: Alex Salmond launches new Turkish TV show with Brian Cox as first guest

Salmond ended his show on the Russian channel RT following Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens’s external affairs spokesperson, called Salmond a “useful idiot” for strongmen leaders.

He said: “Whether it's TRT or Russia Today, the propaganda arms of brutal regimes should never be mistaken for legitimate media outlets.

“Turkey is one of the world's top jailers of journalists, never mind the pro-democracy politicians and human rights defenders also languishing in its jails.

“Sadly it seems they can always find useful idiots willing to look past their horrendous human rights records for the sake of a generous paycheck.”

Alba have hit back, accusing both of "hypocrisy", pointing to Humza Yousaf's recent meeting with Erdogan after which he invited the Turkish president to Scotland. 

Erdogan is considered by the West to have eroded democracy in Turkey, expanding his powers as president while undermining the country’s parliament.

He has also presided over the highest number of imprisoned journalists of anywhere in the world, including countries such as China, Russia and North Korea.

Salmond recently expressed support for Turkish foreign policy, The Times reported last month.

The paper reported he had said Erdogan’s calls for the UN to be “freed from the immobilisation of the veto power of the permanent members of the Security Council” were “highly praiseworthy”.

It is not the first time the former first minister has been criticised for his TV output.

He faced calls in the days leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to ditch his programme on the state broadcaster Russia Today, eventually suspending his talk show on the day Vladimir Putin’s troops officially began their campaign.

Chris McEleny, Alba's general secretary, said: "Young Ross [Greer] comes across as a wee numpty and clearly neither have bothered to watch the show.

"If they did they would see a fascinating interview with Brian Cox which no sane person would take objection to.

"It’s not even a particularly political programme, although politicians across the parties regularly appear on TRT World.

"In contrast, councillor Salih’s party leader has recently met president Erdogan and invited him to Scotland. If she feels so strongly then she should immediately resign from the SNP.

"Similarly if this is Ross Greer’s world view then surely he cannot remain in coalition with a First Minister with whom he is in such total disagreement about his attitude to Turkey.

"In reality neither care enough to jeopardise their own positions. Their hypocrisy is simply mind-boggling.”

TRT was approached for comment.