Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan salutes during a speech he gave on March 14 in Ankara
The largest Turkish press group, which includes Hürriyet newspaper among others, announced on Thursday that it began negotiations to be acquired by a company close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Dogan group said in a statement that it maintains these negotiations with conglomerate Demiroren Holding, which already has two pro-Erdogan newspapers.
The negotiations are worth about $ 1,100 million worth of the operation and a market value of 890 million dollars, taking into account the debts of the Dogan group, the text added.
The Dogan Holding press group is mainly constituted around the Hürriyet newspaper, considered the reference newspaper in Turkey, the Dogan press agency, the Kanal D television network and the CNN-Türk information network.
The English version of Hürriyet, Hurriyet Daily News, is widely read by expatriates and diplomats in Turkey.
If carried out, this transaction would increase the concern of press freedom advocates, who denounce the growing pressure on the media during Erdogan’s presidency, especially after the failed coup of July 2016.
„With this major acquisition, including Hürriyet, the media industry in Turkey is now under the direct political control of President Erdogan,“ Kadri Gürsel, a leading media figure in Turkey, commented on Twitter.
Considered for a long time as the representative of Turkish power sectors, the Dogan group maintains a delicate relationship with Erdogan, marked by years of opposition to the strongman of Turkey, before adopting a rather pro-government line.
Almost all generalist media follow the government line, with some exceptions, such as the newspaper Cumhuriyet, whose owner, editor-in-chief and several journalists are being tried for „terrorist“ activities.