TRT and AA
Turkish Radio and Television (TRT), as it is defined under Law 2954, is an "unbiased public entity." The discussion that TRT does not practice public broadcasting has more or less been an issue during all governments. The General Director of TRT, Şenol Göka, worked an advisor in the Prime Ministry from 2012 until he was appointed as the General Director of TRT in October 2014.Anadolu Agency (AA) is an official news agency, most shares of which belong to the Undersecretariat of the Treasury. Şenol Kazancı, AA's General Director, was an adviser to President Erdoğan for three years until December 2014, when he was appointed to the helm of AA.
The agency's ﬁnances are often contested. In July 2014 it was revealed that media outlets owed the agency approximately USD 423,000 in subscription fees.
Radio and Television Supreme Council
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), responsible for regulating radio and television broadcasts, consists of nine members, elected by the Parliament (TBMM) among candidates nominated by political parties. Despite its definition in the Constitution as being an autonomous public entity, the selection and appointment process of the members is not transparent and the council is criticized for its lack of independence and political composition. Out of 9 members of the Supreme Council, 4 members are from AKP, 2 from CHP, 2 from MHP, and 1 from HDP as of July 2015. and cannot avoid political interference. There are no independent representatives of media associations, trade unions, academia or audience. AKP representative İlhan Yerlikaya is the president since November 2014. He is a former parliament member from AKP, between 2011-2014.
Business Interests come first
Among the shareholders of companies that own the top 40 media outlets, most are businessmen. The seven conglomerates they own (Doğuş, Demirören, Albayrak, Ciner, Kalyon, İhlas Groups and companies belong to Zeki Yeşildağ) operate in sectors such as construction, energy, mining, tourism, telecommunications.
Some of them, such as the Albayrak, Kalyon, İhlas and Doğuş Groups have won major public tenders in the past few years, ranging from the third airport to metro construction and urban redevelopment projects on a neighbourhood scale. These investments are more closely examined in the Business Interests section. Investments in sectors other than media make profit, politics and editorial choices intertwined with each other.
As Doğan Group sold its media assets to the Demirören Group in March 2018 and withdrew from the media sector, seven 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, 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). As Demirören does not share the audience share of its online news portals, among “the top 10 news websites” excluding Demirören, six of them belong to the Ciner (haberturk.com.tr, bloomberght.com) Doğuş (ntv.com.tr), Kalyon (sabah.com.tr, takvim.com.tr,ahaber.com.tr)
Details of all owners' biographies can be found under the Individuals section. However, the interests and political affiliations o Demirören and Albayrak families, Ömer Faruk Kalyoncu, Zeki Yeşildağ, Zekeriya Karaman, Mustafa Çelik, and are worth special mention.
• Demirören Family’s (Erdoğan Demirören and children:Fikret Tayfun Demirören, Yıldırım Demirören, Meltem Oktay) wealth is estimated to be around 1-1,5 billion dollars, acquired mostly from mining, energy and construction. The shares of Demirören Holding are owned entirely by the Demirören Family, which openly supports the ruling AKP and has close ties with President Tayyip Erdoğan. The family has many businesses in media, energy, mining and construction. The media group already owns Milliyet newspaper and its website and the group owned Vatan newspaper but it decided to publish only digital as gazetevatan.com and closed the print version of the newspaper on October 31, 2018.
On March 22, 2018, Demirören group purchased all media assets of Doğan Group with 916 million Dollars. Demirören Group now owns 5 newspapers, including Hürriyet, Posta and Fanatik and two TV channels (Kanal D and CNNTURK), one distribution company (YAYSAT), one news agency (DHA).
Erdoğan Demirören was the majority shareholder of the conglomerate 'Demirören Holding A.Ş.'until he died on June 8, 2018.
• Six brothers of the Albayrak family (Brothers Ahmet, Nuri, Bayram, Kazım, Muzaffer and Mustafa Albayrak) are shareholders of Albayrak Yayın Holding, which owns Yeni Şafak newspaper, seven magazines and two TVs. The group has won dozens of public tenders, especially from municipalities since the 1990s, some of which were subject to claims and investigations of corruption. 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. Albayrak group is known to have close ties to the ruling AK Parti and President Erdoğan, who was Nuri Albayrak's daughter's wedding witness in 2002 and attended his son's engagement ceremony in 2012. (no update)
• Ömer Faruk Kalyoncu: Kalyon Group operates in newspapers, radio, television, internet news portal, news agency, magazine, magazine, construction and energy sectors. Ömer Faruk Kalyoncu, CEO of Zirve Holding, the owner of Turkuvaz Media Group, is the son of Hasan Kalyoncu, the founder of Kalyon Group. Ömer Faruk Kalyoncu founded Zirve Holding in September 2013 to receive the ATV-Sabah broadcasts owned by the Turkuaz Group. Zirve Holding has five newspapers, four TVs, 15 magazines, three internet broadcasts, six radio stations.
Turkish Competition Board approved the sale of Sabah-ATV to Zirve Holding, owned by the Kalyon Group, which is active in the construction, energy and infrastructure sectors (Istanbul third airport, Mecidiyeköy -Mahmutbey subway construction, pedestrianization of Taksim, Bakırköy Courthouse, Metrobus line, Istanbul third airport, Turkey-Cyprus drinking water line, Esenyurt stadium and Çanakkale-Ayancık way)
In 2004, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was the prime minister back then, was a marriage witness in his wedding.
• Zeki Yeşildağ: 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, owned by Ethem Sancak. The firm's capital is now 19 million 40 thousand Turkish liras. According to Trade Registry Gazette published on October 30, 2017, Zeki Yeşildağ is only owner of the company. In addition to his investments in media sector, according to Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, he is a partner of Burak Turizm Sanayi ve Ticaret Limited Şirketi and member of the board of directors at Kased Enerji Anonim Şirketi.
The brother of Zeki Yeşildağ, Hasan Yeşildağ is known with his close ties with 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 Erdoğan in prison.
• Zekeriya Karaman is a shareholder in Hayat Görsel Yayıncılık and the CEO of Beyaz Holding. He was the co-founder and board member of Yeni Dünya İletişim (Kanal 7 TV). Yeni Dünya Media Group owns Kanal 7 TV, Ülke TV, Kanal 7 Europe, haber7.com and Radio 7. Kanal 7 TV started broadcasting in 1994 on Istanbul Municipality's TV channel frequency. In July 2011, he was jailed with charges of forging documents and fraud, in connection to the Lighthouse Case in Germany regarding "buying Kanal 7 shares with charity money." On 15 May 2015 he was acquitted, the case was barred by limitation. President Erdoğan was a marriage witness in his Habib Karaman's wedding in 2016. Karaman's wife's sister is married to Erdoğan's son Burak. One of the other shareholders of Hayat Görsel, Mustafa Çelik, has a daughter (Sena Nur Çelik) who was elected as a parliament member from AKP in 2015.
Zekeriya Karaman, İsmail Karahan and Mustafa Çelik, the three executives of Kanal 7, haber7.com and radyo 7 are also frequently part of the same companies in the records of Istanbul Chamber of Commerce.