Doğan media to be sold to pro-AKP holding company

Turkey's Doğan group is selling its media division to the pro-government conglomerate Demirören. The sale includes the country's highest-circulation daily, Hürriyet newspaper, and the influential TV news channel CNN Türk. Hürriyet had recently adopted a markedly more pro-government stance. Wasn't that enough?

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Cumhuriyet (TR) /

Not anti-government but objective

Another attack on press freedom, Cumhuriyet concludes:

“Although Doğan media had already reached the point where they had become more careful in their articles and news pieces on the government and deaf to thousands of reports that could have annoyed the government, the latter still wasn't satisfied. ... Why? 1. Because despite everything the Doğan group still valued objectivity in its reporting and tried to provide real journalism by also giving the opposition comprehensive coverage. 2. Because it was focussed on balance and its TV channels therefore invited guests from the opposition. 3. More importantly: because journalists hated by the government still wrote for it. 4. And most importantly of all: because government supporters weren't directly in charge of [Hürriyet] newspaper.”

Kathimerini (GR) /

Ankara in a parallel universe

For Kathimerini the latest news from Turkey is further proof that the West's influence there is waning:

“The news on Wednesday that the Dogan news group was being sold to a pro-Erdogan company signaled the fall of perhaps the last citadel of an elite that envisioned Turkey’s ever closer relationship with the West. … The EU, the United States and the international community as a whole have very little leverage with Erdogan. The only possible pressure could come from Vladimir Putin, as the two strongmen find themselves in a shaky marriage of convenience. ... As long as this situation continues, Turkey will be able to act as if in its own parallel universe- turning black to white, acting as it pleases, accusing Germany of supporting the positions of 'terrorist organizations.'”

T24 (TR) /

Collapse of an empire

The sale of the Doğan media division is no surprise given the government's repressive measures against it in recent times, T24 points out:

“The censorship - particularly of Hürriyet and the group's TV stations - reached a climax in recent years. Columns always had to be checked by a third person, and if the text was particularly critical of the government there were no qualms about sending a warning to the author: 'This text is unsuitable, write another'. Sometimes the same columnist had to write two or three new texts per day. ... The Doğan Media Group is history. The empire is in the process of collapse. ... Now only a handful of independent print media are left: Sözcü, Cumhuriyet, Birgün and Evrensel. They must set the bar even higher by renewing themselves.”

Yeni Akit (TR) /

A sincere editorial policy is needed

Ali Karahasanoğlu of the pro-government daily Yeni Akit explains what changes should be made once the group's media have been sold:

“What do I expect to happen after this decision regarding the editorial policy of the Doğan Media Group? That Hürriyet, Posta and CNN will become government mouthpieces? That they will say 'Long live the AKP! Thank goodness you exist! Everything you do is right and everything you don't do is wrong?' No. So what do we expect of them? That they move in the direction of a more sincere editorial policy. That they start being honest. You can rest assured that that will be enough. That would be more than enough.”