Loud and proud— Turkey


As vocal political battles rage on over the country’s democratisation, Monocle speaks to Turkey’s media stars about the role newspapers have in shaping the nation.

journalism, newspapers, publishing

Journalism in Turkey has always been a political contact sport. Even so, the size of the tax penalty given to the Dogan Media Group – Turkey’s largest – had global reverberations. The conflict between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Dogan first surfaced when the papers dug into the allegations swirling around the premier of corruption. Erdogan publicly accused the group’s founder, 73-year-old Aydin Dogan, of blackmailing the government for policies favourable to his investments.

The public attacks escalated and tax officials fined Dogan…

Circulation figures of Turkish national newspapers

  1. Zaman (Time)
    806,005. Owned by supporters of the Islamic movement of Fethullah Gulen.

  2. Posta (Post)
    501,397 Dogan’s centre-right tabloidy broadsheet

  3. Hürriyet (Freedom)
    447,173. Owned by Dogan, centrist and perhaps Turkey’s most influential newspaper

  4. Sabah (Morning)
    344,298. Centre right, close to government; owned by the Calik group, whose CEO is the PM’s son in law

  5. Milliyet (Nationality)
    237,761. Centre-left Dogan paper, more intellectual than Hürriyet

  6. Habertürk (NewsTurk)
    212,040. Owned by Ciner Group which also has Haberturk Television, affiliated with Bloomberg TV

  7. Fotomac (PhotoMatch)
    189,282. Calik-owned national sports daily

  8. Fanatik (Fanatic)
    179,047. Dogan’s national sports daily, 90 per cent about football

  9. Vatan
    173,356. Centrist, independently owned, unofficially controlled by Dogan who was not allowed to buy it due to monopoly concerns

  10. Sözcü
    149,055. Populist tabloid

­All in the family

Dogan Media Group:

Turkey’s largest media group. Its six title comprise about 30 per cent of the country’s total newspaper circulation: Hürriyet, Miliyet, Posta, Fanatik, Radikal and Referans. It also owns 28 magazines and three television channels. DMG is part of Dogan Holding, one of the three largest conglomerates in Turkey, with over 20,000 employees and active in 13 countries in energy distribution, industry, trade and tourism. Founder Aydin Dogan, stepped down on 31 December; a move seen as a capitulation to the government as in the same week, the editor-in-chief of Hürriyet also stepped down after 20 years.

Calik Group:

Despite Dogan wanting to buy the second-biggest media conglomerate in 2008, Sabah ATV, the prize went to the Calik Group, headed by Ahmet Calik. He paid $1.1bn. The deal was controversial: Calk is a close associate of the PM, and around two-thirds of the money was loaned by two state-owned banks. Another $125m came from a Qatari company – The Economist reported that Erdogan was said to have lobbied the emir of Qatar personally. The CEO of Calik Holding is Berat Albayrak, the premier’s son-in-law. Turkuvaz Group, the media arm of Calik, also owns 25 magazines and the newspapers Fotomac, Takvim, Yeni Asir, and Sabah and ATV television. Calik Holding also works in energy, textiles, construction, finance and telecoms.


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