While the Turkish media market looks diverse from the outside because of the large numbers of outlets, it is increasingly concentrated in terms of opinion. The Media Ownership Monitor Turkey 2018, carried out with IPS Communication Foundation between October 2018 and March 2019, shows that the government not only openly endangers media pluralism through recent closures of news outlets but that there is deeper dimension of economic leverage, which allows almost complete control of mass media.
- Politico-economic ties of media owners. Many media owners depend on the government for public contracts in other industrial sectors where they are active, like energy, transport and construction, and thus, refrain from criticism. In Turkish television, still, the most relevant type of media, nine of the ten most important owners are politically affiliated with the ruling party.
- Intransparent distribution of public funds. The distribution of public funds on advertising for example, being one existentially important source of income for smaller papers, remains hidden. A respective appeal of Media Ownership Monitor to the Turkish Right to Information Assessment Council was turned down, claiming “trade secrets” as a reason. The same happened to a request regarding Turkey’s state-owned broadcaster’s (TRT) finances.
- Audience and market power geared towards media empires. The size of media conglomerates has reached immense proportions as the example of Albayrak Yayın Holding shows. Albayrak Yayın Holding runs Yeni Şafak newspaper, seven magazines and two TV channels. Six brothers of the Albayrak family (Ahmet, Nuri, Bayram, Kazım, Muzaffer and Mustafa) are shareholders of the conglomerate that has won dozens of public tenders, especially from municipalities, since the mid-90s, some of which were subject to claims and investigations of corruption. Tümosan, a vehicle company owned by the group, was awarded a 190 million Euro tender to deliver tanks to the Ministry of National Defence in 2015. Albayrak group is active in such diverse sectors like construction, waste management, ports, textiles, IT, tourism and advertising. It is known to have close ties to the ruling AKP and President Erdoğan, who was Nuri Albayrak's daughter's wedding witness in 2002 and attended his son's engagement ceremony in 2012. The Media Ownership Monitor Turkey shows that this is not an isolated case and illustrates further conglomerates.
In the RSF press freedom index, Turkey ranks 157 out of 180 countries in 2018.