Business Interests: Holdings, Investments and Public Tenders
Among the shareholders of companies that own the top 40 media outlets, most are businessmen. The eight conglomerates they own (Doğan, Doğuş, Demirören, Ciner, Albayrak, Kalyon, İhlas Groups and Ethem Sancak companies) operate in sectors such as construction, energy, mining, tourism, telecommunications, banking and finance.
Out of the top 40 media outlets compiled by MOM according to their audience shares, these conglomerates own nine newspapers (Hürriyet, Posta, Sabah, Türkiye, Takvim, Habertürk, Milliyet, Yeni Şafak, Güneş), 7 TVs (Kanal D, CNN Turk, ATV, A Haber, Show TV, Star TV, NTV) five radios (Radyo D, A Haber Radyo, Kral FM, NTV Radyo, TGRT FM) and five websites (hurriyet.com.tr, sabah.com.tr, milliyet.com.tr, haberturk.com, gazetevatan.com).
Some of them, such as the Albayrak Group, Kalyon Group, İhlas Group, Doğuş Group and Ethem Sancak, have won major public tenders in the past few years, ranging from the third airport of Istanbul to metro construction and urban redevelopment projects on a neighborhood scale.
Doğan Group's founder and owner Aydın Doğan started his business life with automobile, commercial vehicles and construction vehicles trade. Operating as a family business the company is active in a wide range of sectors, including media (newspapers, TV, radio and Internet news portals), retail, finance services, industry, automative, real estate property, energy and tourism. In the media sector, the group owns three newspapers, three radios, two TV channels, four Internet news portals, two magazines, one publishing house and one news agency. The group owns two hydropower plants and two wind power plants, as well as the Giresun Aslancık Dam and Hydroelectric Power plant, which is run with the group's partnership with Doğuş Group. In his speeches regarding the media, President Erdoğan targeted the groups's owner Aydın Doğan and the group's journalism frequently. The night of 15 July 2016, when Erdoğan spoke to the people through FaceTime on CNN Türk, was a turning point in this process. In February 2016, a story regarding "the disturbances within the Turkish Armed Forces" published in Dogan's Hurriyet daily affected the relatively calmer relations between the government, triggering developments in the "oil fraud" case against Aydın Doğan. On 2 March 2017, it was reported that Aydın Doğan did not show up to the third hearing of the case and would be "brought in" for the forth.
Doğuş Group was founded in 1951 by Ayhan Şahenk. The conglomerate is active in radio, TV, Internet news portals, publishing, food-drink, retail, banking, financial services (Garanti Bank), automotive, construction, tourism, real estate, energy and entertainment. The group entered the media sector in 1979 by buying Milliyet daily. It still owns eight TVs, four radios, eight news portals, eight magazines and a publishing house. The group has won many tenders, including metro constructions in Istanbul and Galataport, a controversial project that includes a terminal for cruise ships and a hotel in Karaköy, Istanbul. The Giresun Aslancık Dam and Hydroelectric Power plant, which is run with the group's partnership with Doğan Group.
The media companies 'Ciner Yayın Holding' and 'Ciner Medya Yatırımları' (Ciner Media Investments) are owned entirely by Turgay Ciner. He entered media business when he bought Habertürk daily in 2009. In 2013 he grew his media enterprise by acquiring Show TV from the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund of Turkey (TMSF) who had seized it from Çukurova Group. The group owns three TV channels and a newspaper. Its active companies include Ciner Energy and Mining Group, Ciner Media Group and Ciner Trade, Industry and Service Group. The group is in partnership with the state institution Eti Maden İşletmeleri in its Eti Soda business with 74 per cent share. The group has won the tenders for a 500 MW thermal plant in Konya and the Şırnak-Silopi Thermal Plants. The only offer in the tender for the planned nuclear plant in Mersin-Akkuyu came fron Ciner Group. The group is operating the Madenköy copper mine in Siirt Şilvan, where 16 people lost their lives under the debris of the collapsed cave. He's also the owner of Kasımpaşa Spor Kulübü, which has a stadium named after Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Demirören Group: Erdoğan Demirören, who entered the media sector by buying Milliyet in 2011, was formerly a businessman working in the liquid oil sector. Erdoğan Demirören is the majority owner of the conglomerate 'Demirören Holding' which holds the majority shares of the companies that publish Milliyet and Vatan newspapers and their websites. Erdğan Demirören and his children Fikret Tayfun Demirören, Yıldırım Demirören, Meltem Oktay control the group, which owns businesses in media, manufacturing, shopping malls, real estate, port management, construction, education and tourism sectors. The group bought a building that was owned by General Directorate of Foundations, turning it into "Demirören Shopping Mall" on Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue. The construction of the mall caused a lot of controversy, due to claims that it was not built with respect to the former building plan. Yıldırım Demirören, as the Turkish Football Federation President, is a in the commission which handles the tenders of the broadcast of the Turkish National Football League, "Süper Lig." Recently, the Süper Lig and 1st League broadcast rights were sold to Digiturk, which is owned by the Qatari company beIN Sports. Erdoğan Demirören and his two sons (Yıldırım and Fikret Tayfun), attended President Erdoğan's daughter's wedding on May 2016. In 2003, then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was Fikret Tayfun Demirören's wedding witness.
Ethem Sancak was the manager of a small medicine depot in 1988, when he founded a medical and cosmetics distribution company in 2001, later partnering with Alliance Boots company which grew to become the largest with (40 per cent) in the sector. The company started to become active in Russia, Algeria and Egypt's medical sector. The company transferred its shares in 2013 and quit the Medikal Park Group hospital chain, one of the two largest of the country, in 2006. In 2007 he became a partner of Star daily and Kanal 24 TV - his first involvement in the media sector. Sancak explained his selling of the media outlets by saying "My business there was over, so I sold." He has said he's "in love" with Erdoğan and would sacrifice his family for him, and has admitted to having entered the media sector to support him.
In 2013, he bought Güneş, Akşam, Sky360 TV, along with two radio channels and various magazines from the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF), which had seized it from Çukurova Group. In 2014 he bought Star daily and Kanal 24 TV back from businessman Fettah Tamince. In 2014 Ethem Sancak's company Es Financial Investments and Consultancy was the only company to enter a tender that was opened by TMSF for the production of vehicle and equipment for the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and Security General Directorate. 2014'te TMSF'nin açtığı silahlı kuvvetler ve emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü'ne araç ve donanım sağlayan BMC'nin satış ihalesine sadece Sancak'ın sahibi olduğu Es Mali Yatırım ve Danışmanlık başvurdu. Halen sahibi olduğu BMC Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri zırhlı araç Kirpi ve Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü için Toplumsal Olaylara Müdahale Aracı (TOMA) ihalelerini de kazandı. He still owns BMC, has also won the tender for the productions of the armed vehicle "Kirpi" for TAF and anti-riot water canon vehicle (TOMA) for the Security Directorate. He has taken an ombudsman position in AK Parti since 2012.
Six brothers of the Albayrak family (Brothers Ahmet, Nuri, Bayram, Kazım, Muzaffer and Mustafa Albayrak) are shareholders of Albayrak Yayın Holding, which entered the construction business first in 1952. In 1997 the group bought Yeni Şafak newspaper. They now own seven magazines and two TV channels, as well. The group is active in media (newspaper, TV, Internet news portal), magazine publishing, construction, advertising, distribution, agricultural vehicles, recycling machinery, port management, paper products, textile, information technologies, industry, waste management and metering systems sectors. The group has taken dozens of public tenders, especially from municipalities, since the mid 90s. Tümosan, a vehicle company owned by the group, took a 190 million Euro tender to construct tanks for the Ministry of National Defence in 2015. The group is conducting the Istanbul subway line, Fatih Parking Garage, Istanbul electric tramway and tunnel establishments (IETT) Engine Renewal Factory, IETT Ayazağa Garage, prefabric hospital constructions in five different cities, Lahore metrobus infrastructure projects. The group has also won the tenders for "Altay" tank production from the Ministry of Defense, speed train production, Turkey's first aircraft tow tractor production from the Air Forces. Meanwhile, the group is also handling the construction of Trabzon and Mogadishu ports; waste collection activities in İstanbul, Ankara, Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep and Kocaeli; as well as the meter readings of Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration (ISKI), Turkish Electricity Distribution Corporation (TEDAŞ), Istanbul Gas Distribution Company. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was Nuri Albayrak's daughter's wedding witness in 2002 and attended his son's engagement ceremony in 2012.
Kalyon Group, operates in media (newspapers, TV, radio and Internet news portals), news agency, magazine publishing, construction, energy and infrastructure sectors. Ömer faruk Kalyoncu founded Zirve Holding in September 2013 to purchase the ATV-Sabah outlets from the Turkuvaz Group. Zirve Holding owns five newspapers, four TVs, 15 magazines, three Internet outlets and six radios. It has taken major public tenders in recent years, such as the construction of the third airport of Istanbul, the Mecidiyeköy-Mahmutbey subway line, the pedestrianization project of Taksim, the Bakırköy courthouse construction, metrobus line extension, construction of the third airport of Istanbul, Turkey-Cyprus drinking water pipe line construction, Başakşehir stadium and the Çanakkale-Ayancık road construction. President Erdoğan was a marriage witness during the wedding of Ömer Faruk Kalyoncu in 2004.
İhlas Holding was founded in 1970 with the establishment of Türkiye newspaper. Today it owns one newspaper, two TVs, one news agency and Internet web sites. Apart from all four types of media, it also operates in magazine publishing, publishing, communication, retail, industry, real estate, education and healthcare sectors. The group owns 25 companies across the country. The holding's shares began trading on Borsa Istanbul in 2010. The group won a public tender in 2013 for the construction of 4,500 units as part of a controversial redevelopment project in İstanbul's Gaziosmanpaşa district; for the wireless wide area network and secure Internet connection of Istanbul's Bağcılar district; for the poly-metal mines in Salihli and Bayındır; as well as Elbistan lignite mine and thermal power plant.