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Newspapers, Agencies, Magazines

According to the “Print Media and International Standard Book Number Statistics” published by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), the total number of newspapers and magazines published in 2020 was 4,746, of which 2,164 were newspapers. The total number decreased by 13.5 percent compared to 2019. 54.4 percent of these publications were magazines (TurkStat July 2021).

Of the newspapers published in Turkey in 2020, 1,971 (91.1%) were local, 140 (6.5%) were widespread (national), and 51 (2.4%) were regional. According to the TurkStat 2021 statistics, the circulation of newspapers and magazines decreased by 20.9 percent in 2020. The annual circulation of newspapers and magazines has reached 996 million 516 thousand 20. Newspapers produced 94.8 percent of the annual circulation (TurkSat July 2021). 

In 2019, a total of 2,337 newspapers were published. Of the newspapers published in 2019, 90.8 percent were local, 7.3 percent were widespread (national), and 1.9 percent were regional. The circulation of newspapers and magazines in 2019 decreased by 8 percent compared to 2018. The annual total circulation of newspapers and magazines published in 2019 was 1 billion 259 million 68 thousand 89, of which 94.2 percent was newspapers.

It was reported that the circulation reports had not been published on the Press Advertisement Institution (BİK) website since October 2014 due to instructions from higher officials. As the Regulation on Official Announcements and Advertisements and Periodicals to Publish issued on October 5, 2016 made it compulsory to announce the information about the newspapers on the website, the circulation rates started to be published on bik.gov.tr again. However, the circulation column, which shows how many newspapers are sold each day, is no longer available.

Print media became fourth in advertisement investment

According to the estimated data of the Advertisers Association published in April 2021, 13 billion 976 million TRY of media and advertising investments, which totaled 17 billion 469 million TRY in 2020, were media investments. While the investments in newspapers, TV and radio constituted 41 percent of total investments, investments in digital were 54 percent. This year, there was a 28 percent decrease in the advertising revenues of the dailies when compared to 2019. With this decrease, press media investments rank fourth after digital portals (54%) and television (36%) in terms of advertising investments with a 3 percent market share. However, newspapers reach a wide range of visits through their Internet pages.

The 2019 evaluation report of the Advertising Association states that the advertising revenues of the newspapers decreased by 25.9 percent when compared to 2018. With this decrease, press media investments were lower than television (46%) and digital portals (33.3%) with a market share of 6.5 percent. In 2019, media and advertising investments grew by 6.2 percent to 11 million TRY. 2 billion 210 million TRY of these investments belonged to advertising investments.

Public announcements and advertisements distributed by the Press Advertisement Institution (BİK), which became affiliated with the Presidency’s Directorate of Communications as per the Presidential decree in 2018, constitute a significant part of the newspapers’ revenues. Advertisements in newspapers are determined by circulation. It is widely spoken that newspapers handed out free of charge are also included in the circulation, and the circulation is shown high in order to receive advertisements.

Independent newspapers in Turkey are dependent on revenues from BİK’s advertisements. However, since 2010, BİK has not publicly reported the revenues of advertisements distributed to newspapers using public resources, and has not shared statistics by declaring that it is a "trade secret". The amount of advertisement and advertising revenue distributed to the newspapers is stated only in the annual report of the institution, but this report is also not disclosed to the public. According to the information obtained by the TurkStat from the records of the BİK, the costs of official announcements and advertisements decreased by 2.6 percent in 2020 to 454 million 729 thousand 980 TRY. The same source says that the official announcement and advertising costs of BİK in 2019 increased by 2.8 percent to 467 million 41 thousand 82 TRY.

According to the article written by Alican Uludağ from Deutsche Welle, while the pro-government newspapers received more than 141 million 932 thousand TRY from the BİK with a share of approximately 78 percent, other newspapers received only about 22 percent of the public funds given by official advertisements. The top four newspapers according to their official advertisement revenues are as follows: Sabah, Hürriyet, Posta and Milliyet. Despite being among the top three newspapers in circulation throughout the year, Sözcü is only the 6th in official advertisement revenue.

According to Kenan Şener's research, in 2020, public banks did not give ads to newspapers Korkusuz, BirGün, Evrensel, Fikir, Cumhuriyet, Milli Gazete, Sözcü, Yeniçağ, Yeni Asya and Yeni Mesaj, which are critical of the government. Türkgün, known as the media organ of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the partner of the ruling party, has been given the most advertisements by the public banks. Among the newspapers that received the most advertisements in 2020, there were three newspapers (Sabah Takvim and Yeni Asır) belonging to the Turkuvaz Group. The group obtained 36.54 percent of the total official advertisement amount received by 30 newspapers.

The same research notes the following point about Demirören group newspapers: Hürriyet ranks 10th among 16 newspapers receiving advertisements from public banks. The fourth best-selling Posta newspaper in circulation ranks 11th and Milliyet ranks 12th. It is known that Demirören Media Group received a share of 33 million 165 thousand 512 TRY in the general total of the newspapers.

Similarly, the BİK does not transparently report the ad fines given to the newspapers. According to the BİA Media Monitoring Report for the year 2020, BİK cut the ads of five critical newspapers Sözcü, Evrensel, BirGün, Cumhuriyet and Korkusuz for 276 days in total. With 114 days, Evrensel became the newspaper that did not receive any official advertisements for the longest period of time. The fact that the BİK started cutting the ads of opposition newspapers such as Evrensel and BirGün in 2019 is seen as an attempt to silence the critical media. While the Presidency’s Communication Centre (CİMER) did not disclose which newspapers received the bans, media ombudsperson Faruk Bildirici found by comparing the CİMER figures and BİK statements that 333 out of 376 days, or 88 percent, of fines against İstanbul-based newspapers were imposed on above mentioned five newspapers. There is no data on which newspapers (published in other provinces other than İstanbul) were given 427 days of fines. 

Changes in the print media sector 

According to the Trade Registry Gazette, Estetik Publishing, owner of Sözcü and Korkusuz newspapers, were transferred to Beme Media AG in 2020. Burak Akbay, former chairperson of the Estetik Group, is on the board of Beme Media.

In December 2019, Güneş and Star newspapers of the pro-government TürkMedya group were shut down. Güneş newspaper has turned into a supplement of daily Akşam, which belongs to the same group.

The most significant change in the media sector in Turkey was the sale of all media assets of Doğan Group to Demirören Group in March 2018. The Doğan Group has completely withdrawn from the media sector. With this change, among the top 10 list, Demirören Group has now three newspapers (including Hürriyet, Posta, and Milliyet), except for Vatan newspaper, which was closed on October 31, 2018, but was distributed as a weekend supplement of Milliyet newspaper. But Vatan, as gazetevatan.com, still goes online. 

In addition, the print edition of Ciner Group's Habertürk was closed in July 2018 and it goes digital-only.

Ethem Sancak, (the owner of the BMC, which manufactures TOMAs, water cannon vehicles, for the General Directorate of Security Affairs, and armored personnel carriers for the Turkish Armed Forces) sold its media assets (known as ES Medya) to Zeki Yeşildağ, whose brother (Hasan Yeşildağ) has close ties with President Erdoğan. ES Medya is now known as Türk Medya (T Medya Yatırım San. ve Tic. A.Ş).

Other than Sözcü and Korkusuz newspapers, 8 newspapers in the top 10 list belong to groups known to be close to the ruling party AKP. Among these eight newspapers, there are 3 newspapers of Demirören Group, two newspapers belonging to Kalyon Group while İhlas, Türk Medya and Albayrak Groups have one newspaper each.

Except for Akbay, sitting on the BEME Media’s board of directors, all owners have large investments in sectors such as energy and construction, depending on contracts made with the government.

According to the response from the Presidency's Communication Center (CİMER), the newspapers in the top 10 according to their circulation rates in 2020 are as follows: Sabah (Kalyon Holding), Sözcü (Estetik Publishing - transferred to BEME Media A.G), Hürriyet (Demirören), Posta (Demirören), Turkey (Ihlas), Milliyet (Demirören), Akşam (Türk Medya), Yeni Şafak (Albayrak), Takvim (Kalyon), Açık Mert Korkusuz (Estetik Publishing - transferred to BEME Media A.G).

According to the response from the CİMER, the newspapers in the top 10 according to their circulation rates in 2019 were as follows: Sabah, Sözcü, Hürriyet, Posta, Turkey, Milliyet, Yeni Şafak, Takvim, Güneş (shutdown), Akşam.

Decrees Released Under the State of Emergency

On April 8, 2021, the Constitutional Court annulled the Decree Law, which paved the way for the closure of newspapers, television and agencies on the grounds that they "posed a threat to national security" during the state of emergency.

In October 2015, a Turkish court seized Ipek-Koza Groups' Millet and Bugün dailies; and in March 2016 Feza Yayıncılık, which owned Zaman, Today's Zaman and Meydan newspapers, as well as Cihan News Agency and Aksiyon magazine. The trustees which took over the newspapers, shut them down.

The decrees [668 (27.07.2016), 675 (29.10.2016), 677 (22.11.2016), 675 (29.10.2016) ve 670 (17.08.2016), 689 ( 29.04.2017), 693 (25.08.2017) and 695 (24.12.2017) and 701(08.07.2018)] declared during the state of emergency brought the shutdowns of 6 news agencies, 41 radios, 38 TVs, 70 newspapers, 20 magazines, and 29 printing houses and distribution channels (in total 204 news agencies). The decisions to shut down 17 newspapers, 4 radios, 4 TV and a total of 25 media organizations under decrees were canceled.

With these decrees, 668 (45), 675 (10) and 677 (7), 689 (1), 693 (2), 695 (2) and 701 (3), in total 73 newspapers were shut down. With the removal of the decisions to shut down 17 of these newspapers, 53 newspapers, 20 magazines, and 29 printing houses are still closed as of March 2019 (İHOP 2019).

In 2018, 3 newspapers (Halkın Nabzı, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi and Azadiya Welat) and 1TV (Avantaj TV) were shut down based on decree 701.

In 2017, one newspaper and one magazine were shut down, and two dailies and one media agency based on decree 689 and 693 respectively in 2017. Also, with decree 695, two newspapers were shut down. In 2016, 62 newspapers were shut down based on decrees 668 (45), 675 (10) and 677 (7); 14 were shut down based on decree 668, three were shut down based on decree 675 and one based on 677. Through additional lists of closures, two news agencies were shut down based on decree 675, 29 publishing houses and distribution companies were shut down based on decree 668 (BİA Media Monitoring Report 2017).

These shutdowns were based on "connection and communication with the Gülenist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ/PYD), which has been established as a threat to national security; as well as terror organizations and structures and groups which have been declared as acting against the security of the state, by the National Security Council."

Four quarterly BİA Media Monitoring Reports published in 2020 show that, this year, 23 journalists were sentenced to 103 years, 3 days in prison in total as per the related articles of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) on charges of "insult", "membership of an organization", "aiding the organization as non-members" and "espionage" and as per the related article of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) on "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" as well as on charges as per the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Law and the Military Penal Code.

According to the BİA Media Monitoring Report, in 2019, 33 journalists and media workers were sentenced to 63 years, 11 months in prison in total (15 years, 5 months deferred) as part of journalism or political cases and as per the TMK. 18 journalists were acquitted.

Newspapers listed as shut down

Adana Haber Gazetesi, Batman Postası Gazetesi, Adana Medya Gazetesi, Batman Doğuş Gazetesi, Akdeniz Türk Gazetesi, Bingöl Olay Gazetesi, İrade Gazetesi, Kurtuluş Gazetesi, İskenderun Olay Gazetesi, Lider Gazetesi, Ekonomi, İscehisar Durum Gazetesi , Demokrat Gebze Gazetesi, Antalya Gazetesi, Kocaeli Manşet, Yerel Bakış Gazetesi, Bizim Kocaeli, Nazar, Haber Kütahya Gazetesi, Batman Gazetesi, Gediz Gazetesi, Son Nokta Gazetesi, Merkür Haber Gazetesi, Millet Gazetesi, Turgutlu Havadis Gazetesi, Bugün Gazetesi, Milas Feza Gazetesi, Meydan Gazetesi, Türkiye'de Yeni Yıldız Gazetesi, Özgür Düşünce Gazetesi, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, Halkın Nabzı, Hakikat Gazetesi, Taraf Gazetesi, Urfa Haber Ajansı Gazetesi, Yarına Bakış Gazetesi, Ajans 11 Gazetesi, Yeni Hayat Gazetesi, Yeni Emek Gazetesi, Zaman Gazetesi, Banaz Postası Gazetesi, Today's Zaman Gazetesi, Özgür Gündem Gazetesi, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi, Cizre Postası Gazetesi, Yüksekova Haber Gazetesi, Güney Express Gazetesi, Express Gazetesi, Dağyeli Gazetesi, Türkiye Manşet, Akis Gazetesi, İpekyolu Gazetesi, Yedigün Gazetesi, Son Dakika Gazetesi

Among the shutdown newspapers, Batman, Batman Çağdaş, Bingöl Olay, Kurtuluş, Lider, İscehisar, İdil Haber, Ege'de Sonsöz and Hakikat, Hisar Gazetesi, Kızıltepe'nin Sesi, Prestij Haber, Şuhut'un Sesi Urfanatik, Türkeli were reopened through decrees.

Magazines listed as shut down

Akademik Araştırmalar Dergisi, Aksiyon, Asya Pasifik (PASİAD) Dergisi, Bisiklet Çocuk Dergisi, Diyalog Avrasya Dergisi, Gül Yaprağı Dergisi, Nokta, Sızıntı, Ekolife Dergisi, Ekoloji Dergisi, Fountain Dergisi, Gonca Dergisi, Yağmur Dergisi, Yeni Ümit, Zirve Dergisi, Özgürlük Dünyası Dergisi, Tiroj Dergisi, Evrensel Kültür, Haberexen dergisi,Bağımsızlık, Demokrasi, Sosyalizm İçin Yürüyüş Dergisi

News agencies listed as shut down

Cihan Haber Ajansı, Muhabir Haber Ajansı, SEM Haber Ajansı, Dicle Haber Ajansı, Jin Haber Ajansı. Dihaber - Dicle Medya Haber Ajansı, Adana Haber Ajansı.

Publishing houses and distribution companies listed as shut down

Altın Burç Yayınları, Işık Akademi, Burak Basın Yayın Dağıtım, Işık Özel Eğitim Yayınları, Define Yayınları, Işık Yayınları, Dolunay Eğitim Yayın Dağıtım, İklim Basın Yayın Pazarlama, Giresun Basın Yayın Dağıtım, Kaydırak Yayınları, Gonca Yayınları, Kaynak Yayınları, Gülyurdu Yayınları, Kervan Basın Yayıncılık, GYV Yayınları, Kuşak Yayınları, Ufuk Basın Yayın Haber Ajans Pazarlama, Muştu Yayınları, Ufuk Yayınları, Nil Yayınları, Waşanxaneya Nil, Rehber Yayınları, Yay Basın Dağıtım Pazarlama-Reklamcılık, Sürat Basım Yayın Reklamcılık Eğitim Araçları, Yeni Akademi Yayınları, Sütun Yayınları, Yitik Hazine Yayınları, Şahdamar Yayınları, Zambak Basın Yayın Eğitim Turizm

*These shutdowns include the accusations of being linked to both “FETÖ/PDY” and “PKK/PYD/KCK”

Regulation Regarding Official Advertisement

A new criterion was brought into the regulation of official advertisement by the Press Advertisement Institution (BİK) - a public entity which is responsible for the distribution of official advertising - on October 5, 2016. With the new "Regulation Regarding Periodicals to Run Official Announcements and Advertisements," the right of a media outlet to publish official advertising is stopped, until the cases regarding "crimes against constitutional order" and/or "counter-terrorism" against the grant holder, the individual proprietor or the legal entity, or representatives of the legal entity, major part of the partners or legal proprietors are closed. With the same regulation, media outlets that do not dismiss employees that are standing trial based on the same allegations in five days will also lose their right to publish official advertising.

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