Turkey's key media group to be sold to pro-Erdogan business

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's largest media group said Thursday it is in talks with a business group close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the sale of its outlets, a development that further curtails independent journalism in the country that has taken an increasingly authoritarian turn under his leadership.

In a notice to Turkey's capital markets board, Dogan Holding said it was negotiating the sale of outlets — including flagship Hurriyet newspaper, the mass-circulation daily Posta, CNN-Turk and Kanal D television channels and Dogan New Agency — to Demiroren Holding. Dogan Holding said the sale was worth $890 million.

Dogan news outlets were among the few relatively independent media in a landscape that is dominated by TV stations and newspapers allied with Erdogan. If a deal is reached, Dogan-owned media would be the latest outlets to end up in the hands of businesses close to the president.

"This will lead to the complete disappearance of the mainstream media and for the media to speak with just one voice," said Nazmi Bilgin, who heads the Ankara-based Journalists Association. "We are deeply concerned for the Turkish press and freedom of press."

There was no immediate government comment.

The possible sale is widely seen as a culmination of a long-standing battle between the government and Dogan Holding's owner, Aydin Dogan, who also has business interests in energy and real estate.

In a message to employees, Aydin Dogan confirmed that his company had signed a "preliminary protocol" with Demiroren Holding.

"At this stage, I have decided to voluntarily put an end to my profession as a publisher," he said.

The media magnate was slapped with a multi-billion tax fine in 2009 that forced him to sell Milliyet and Vatan newspapers to Demiroren Holding.

The fine had a chilling effect on media organizations. Keen not to fall afoul of the government, news outlets fired journalists critical of the government and trimmed critical reporting.

Erol Onderoglu, the Turkey representative of Reporters Without Borders said the sale of Dogan Holding "means the death of pluralism and independent journalism in Turkey's mainstream media.

"The government now has complete control of the media in the run-up to general elections in 2019," he added.

Erdogan has further tightened his grip on media since a failed military coup in 2016 blamed on a network of followers of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

More than 150 journalists are in jail, mostly on terrorism-related charges, while over 150 media outlets, from broadcasters to newspapers and magazines, have been shut down for alleged links to terror groups, leaving thousands unemployed.

The government insists the journalists have been jailed for criminal activity, not journalistic work.

Related News

Iranian director sends video to message to US...

Feb 25, 2017

An Oscar-nominated Iranian film director has sent a video message to a rally attended by...

Iranians cheer Farhadi's Oscar as rebuke of Trump...

Feb 27, 2017

The Oscar for Asghar Farhadi's "The Salesman" energized many of the filmmaker's fellow Iranians,...

Iranian hard-line newspapers criticize Farhadi's...

Feb 28, 2017

Iranian hard-line papers criticize Farhadi's Oscar for best foreign film, claiming 'politics'...

Iranian film hails demise of US Navy in imagined...

Mar 2, 2017

A new animated Iranian film portrays a showdown at sea with the U.S. Navy, in which a commander...

Iran opposition leader's daughter holds painting...

Aug 11, 2017

Daughter of Iran opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, under house arrest since 2011, holds...

Armenia's Oscars submission imagines a world...

Nov 24, 2017

Armenia's foreign-language film submission to the Academy Awards for this year invites viewers to...

Search for something?

Sign up now!

In Hip N Trendy, we constantly discover and share the best products in the market to make sure that you know what’s new. It’s always FUN to talk with people who have the same interests as us, don’t you agree?

Contact us: sales[at]hipntrendy.com