Middle East

Pro-Erdogan firm reportedly taking over Turkey’s last bastion of liberal media

A firm known for its pro-government messaging is set to buy one of the last bastions of liberal media in the country, local media reported. Turkey has witnessed press freedom deteriorate since a failed coup in 2016.

Local media reported on Wednesday that Turkey’s Demiroren Holding, an unlisted firm known for backing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has agreed to purchase the media arms of Dogan Holding.

Dogan Holding’s media arm, considered one of the last bastions of liberal media in Turkey, comprises CNN Turk, Hurriyet newspaper and DHA news agency, among others.

Why does this matter:

  • Aydin Dogan, the 81-year-old owner of Dogan Holding, was forced to sell two newspapers to Demiroren after he was slammed with a $2.5 billion fine for unpaid taxes. The tax bill was widely seen as a way to choke out critical media.
  • Under the pro-Erdogan firm, the two papers — Milliyet and Vatan — transformed from a trusted liberal voice into a strong pro-government proponent.
  • If Dogan Holding’s media arm comes under Demiroren ownership, CNN Turk, Hurriyet and Dogan news agency could witness a similar transformation.
  • Since a failed coup in 2016, Turkey has extended a government crackdown to critical newspapers and media outlets, jailing scores of journalists and media workers under counterterrorism laws.

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