Business Interests: Holdings, Investments and Public Tenders
Among the shareholders of companies that own the top 40 media outlets, most are businessmen. The six conglomerates they own (Doğuş, Demirören, Albayrak, Ciner, Kalyon, İhlas Groups) operate in sectors such as construction, energy, mining, tourism, telecommunications.
The groups (Doğuş, Demirören, Ciner, Albayrak, Kalyon, İhlas companies and Türk media group) that own other major businesses publish almost half out of the top 40 media outlets compiled by MOM according to their audience shares. Among the top 40 media outlets, they own nine newspapers (Hürriyet, Sabah, Posta, Milliyet, Türkiye, Takvim, Yeni Şafak, Akşam and Güneş), seven TVs (ATV, A Haber, SHOW TV, Star TV, NTV, Kanal D, NTV) six radios (Radyo D, CNN Türk Radyo, A Haber Radyo, Kral FM, NTV Radyo, TGRT FM). Six of digital news portal belong to the Ciner (haberturk.com.tr, bloomberght.com.tr) Doğuş (ntv.com.tr), Kalyon (sabah.com.tr, ahaber.com.tr; takvim.com.tr) (The list of "top 10 news websites" exclude the news portal of Demirören Group as the Group does not publish their audience shares).
Some of them, such as the Albayrak Group, Kalyon Group, İhlas Group and Doğuş Group, 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.
Demirören Group: Erdoğan Demirören, who entered the media sector by buying Milliyet in 2011, was formerly a businessman working in the liquid oil sector. All shares of the Group belong to Demirören Family, who has close ties with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and who openly supports the ruling AKP party. Demirören family is active in many sectors such as media, energy, mining and construction.
Erdoğan Demirören was the majority shareholder of the conglomerate 'Demirören Holding A.Ş.' until he died on June 8, 2018. Yıldırım Demirören was elected as the board of chairman of Demirören Holding after his father died. Fikret Tayfun Demirören, Yıldırım Demirören, Meltem Oktay now 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.
In 2003, then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was Fikret Tayfun Demirören's wedding witness. Erdoğan Demirören and his two sons (Yıldırım and Fikret Tayfun), attended President Erdoğan's daughter's wedding on May 2016. Also, Yelda Demirören, the daughter of Yıldırım Demirören and Haluk Kalyoncu (the son of Hasan Kalyoncu, the founder of the Kalyon Group) got married on April 13, 2019 and President Erdoğan and his wife Emine Erdoğan were the marriage witnesses.
On March 22, 2018, Demirören group purchased all media assets of Doğan Group with USD 916 million. Demirören Group now owns 5 newspapers, including Hürriyet, Posta and Fanatik dailies and two TV channels (Kanal D and CNNTURK), one distribution company (YAYSAT), one news agency (DHA).
Doğuş Group is a family business owned by the Şahenk family, which owns 99.3% of Doğuş Yayın Grubu (Doğuş Media Group DMG). The Group was founded in 1951 by Ayhan Şahenk, primarily, active in constructions, subsequently in finance, tourism and automotive industry. The group was also active in banking (Garanti Bank) until it sold its last % 9,95 stakes to the Spanish lender BBVA Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria in February 2017.
Doğuş Media Group was founded with a capital of 2 million 870 thousand Turkish Liras in 1999 with the acquisition of NTV, it works with such global corporations as National Geographic and Condé Nast, and it continues to make major advances in the media sector. The group has won many tenders, including metro constructions in Istanbul and Galataport, the Giresun Aslancık Dam and Hydroelectric Power plant, which is run with the group's partnership with Doğan Group.
There are 4 television channels, 7 online brands, 4 radio stations, 3 licensed monthly magazines and reference books under the media 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.
Ciner Media Group explained that it decided to end print edition of Habertürk due to the financial issues. The final edition of the newspaper was published on July 6, 2018. Haberturk daily continues to be published via haberturk.com.
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.
Haluk Kalyoncu (the son of Hasan Kalyoncu, the founder of the Kalyon Group) and Yelda Demirören (the daughter of Yıldırım Demirören, the Chair of the Board of Directors of Demirören Holding) got married on April 13, 2019. President Erdoğan and his wife Emine Erdoğan were the marriage witnesses.
In 2017, Zeki Yeşildağ purchased “Es Yayıncılık” and its all media assets including three TV channels, three newspapers, and their connected web-sites as well as two radio stations, previously owned by Ethem Sancak. For the purposes of this study, these media groups were combined into a loose name as Türk Medya Group. Alem Radyo ve Televizyon Yayıncılık Anonim Şirketi, Atlas Yayıncılık ve Ticaret Anonim Şirketi, Star Medya Yayıncılık Anonim Şirketi,Star Medya Ajans A.Ş., Star Matbaacılık A.Ş. and Dinamik Radyo A.Ş, all, belongs to Türk Medya Group.
In the Turkish Trade Registry Gazette, its records can be find under the name of “T Medya Yatırım Sanayi ve Ticaret Anonim Şirketi”. According to Trade Registry Gazette published on October 30, 2017, Zeki Yeşildağ is only owner of the company.
The brother of Zeki Yeşildağ, Hasan Yeşildağ is known with his close ties with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Based on the book, "Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Bir Liderin Doğuşu" by Hüseyin Besli, AKP's 22nd term parliament, Hasan Yeşildağ is said to have committed a crime on purpose, just to be jailed for four months in order to protect President Erdoğan in prison.
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.
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.