"Pressure on Turkish Press"

1. It is certain that PM Erdoğan is not good at handling the media, his is a PR disaster. Or this is a matter of perspective; ordinary AKP voters and even some others who are uneasy with DMG for ages believe he is treating DMG just as it deserves. Thus it is a PR success. It depends on who is the target.

2. In a more abstract democratic level, however, political authority must not target the media. Even if the authority has valid reasons, media should still be given autonomy. Unfortunately, AKP instigated huge tax fine is a violation of that autonomy.

3. PM Erdoğan is right: DMG acted like an opposition party. But in a country where opposition is so weak, media can assume that role. A powerful government should have accepted that. This does not fit in objectivism ideology in journalism but who cares? Objectivism was never around.

4. But if DMG assumes a political role, then it will have to accept the consequences. A political struggle will create some sorts of wounds. I would still not support a government pressure but i would not be surprised if there pressure since this becomes a field of political struggle.

5. Is a businessman, Aydın Doğan, ready or desiring such a struggle? I am not sure. Ideologically motivated senior journalists are leading the fight, I believe, as some like Fehmi Koru claim. It is never good for business to start a fight against a powerful political authority.

6. What are press or human rights organizations abroad will react? They just react according to the somewhat clichés which cannot be denied in abstract but has no relevance in a particular context. Yes, it is embarrasing for AKP to be subjected to these criticism but this does not mean, they have a subtantive impact on AKP leadership or constituencies. Because these criticism willingly or unwillingly ignore the ongoing political struggle in Turkey.


A roundup: 

Censorship or freedom of the press in Turkey

In Columnists

The freedom of the press has been at the center of some controversy recently in the Turkish media. Dailies belonging to businessman Aydın Doğan, whose companies have been accused of tax evasion, have alleged that the government is censoring the press and the media.

IPI raises concernes over huge tax fine imposed on Turkey’s Dogan

A half-billion-dollars tax levy imposed on Turkey’s largest media company Dogan Group raises concerns over possible efforts to silence the critic media, International Press Institute (IPI) and South East Europe Media Organization said late on Friday.

Why the row between the PM and the media tycoon?

In Columnists

Many of my foreign colleagues and friends who follow Turkish politics ask me what I make of the row between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and media tycoon Aydın Doğan, who owns seven leading national newspapers, three leading national television channels and 28 magazines — which together make up nearly half of the media in Turkey — and who has even larger interests in the energy and property sectors.

Press freedom in Turkey: crying freedom vs. crying wolf

In Columnists

The top news story on the International Press Institute’s Web site (http://www.freemedia.at/cms/ipi/) expresses concern with the rough justice of a near half-billion-dollar tax bill that is being slapped on the Doğan Media Group.

Recommendations to IPI

In Columnists

I received a response to my previous column (on the tax evasion charges and a fine of $500 million against Doğan Media Group [DMG]) from David Dadge, director of the International Press Institute (IPI), whose "too rapid" response to the incident I found problematic.

Int’l media keeps eye on Doğan case

ISTANBUL – German daily Die Welt says the fine was meant to silence the Doğan Group and it would eventually lead to an end of ’the media criticizing the government.’ The article retraced the friction between the media and gov’t

The trouble with the media

In Columnists

In May 2007 I received a phone call from a Turkish journalist. The then would-be French President Nicolas Sarkozy had apparently denied that Cappadocia was part of Europe, causing a Turkish diplomat to snap that a Europe without Cappadocia was unimaginable.

Turkey’s Doğan can ’weather storm’

ISTANBUL – Turkey’s biggest media group renewed its defense yesterday against a record-breaking tax levy. The group’s owner, in an interview with a leading U.S. newspaper, accused the government of "seeking to create a calm and silent Turkey."

Doğan’s tax evasion case under spotlight

In Columnists

Another row erupted between the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and the Doğan Yayın Holding, a conglomerate of publishing companies under the umbrella of the Doğan Holding, last week when the media holding was fined TL 826.2 million for tax evasion.

Foreign coverage of Erdoğan vs Doğan

ISTANBUL – The Associated Press was the latest international media organization to report on the huge tax fine on Doğan Media Group, or DMG. According to the AP’s report, the dispute "pits one of the country’s richest men, a staunch secularist, against the prime minister, who leads an Islamic-oriented government."

Turkish media group under government attack

Leading Turkish media group Dogan disputed the reasoning behind a fine and tax charge of nearly $500 million imposed by the government, highlighting the difficult situation faced by media in the largest EU candidate country.

WSJ Turkish Mogul Clashes With Premier Turkish media mogul Aydin Dogan accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of seeking to muzzle criticism, amid an escalating feud.

Harming press freedom? Not that simple…

In Columnists

I recently spent some time in London, the heart of a powerful press, visiting newspapers and talking to prominent colleagues. I noticed that the more I asked and learned, the gloomier I felt.

Voluntary sand bag:

 mainstream media

The timing of the tax penalty levied against the Doğan Group this week is a hot topic and will continue to be debated.

Tax turns into politics

Doğan outlines its strategy

ISTANBUL – The chief financial officer of the Doğan Media Group outlined his strategy to fight a half billion dollar tax levy imposed by the company yesterday, saying the company is readying for a legal battle to last two to seven years.

Turkish journalists’ association slam tax fine on Dogan Group

Turkish Journalists’ Society (TGC) said the unfair tax fine imposed on the Dogan Media Group is a dangerous way of silencing the press organs that the government dislikes.

Turkish PM Erdogan consciously increases tension with media

The unfair tax levy imposed on Turkey’s largest media group, Dogan Holding, came after Prim

e Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s ongoing assault and boycott campaign targeting the group at party meetings or political rallies.

TEXT – Dogan Media Group’s public announcement on tax fine

An implausible order issued Feb. 18, 2009 related to a sales transaction of our group that has resulted in a fine of proportions unseen in Turkish corporate history.

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