The Turkish media landscape is highly concentrated with a few major conglomerates controlling the media sector such as Dogan Group owned by Aydin Dogan and Dogus Group owned by Ferit F. Sahenk. The major privately owned media groups in Turkey are Dogan Group, Dogus Group, Cukurova Holding and Calik Holding. There is one state owned media outlet known as the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) which was the very first broadcasting company established in Turkey. Until 1993, TRT enjoyed monopoly in the media sector, delivering news content across the nation through several television and radio channels.
The main media press outlets exist in Istanbul (the media capital of Turkey) (BBC 2012)

The mass news media is one of the most powerful institutions in contemporary society and thus attracts strict regulation both at a government level and from within the industry itself. The media in Turkey is therefore not an exception to strict regulation especially from the government. The basis of media regulation in Turkey is rooted in statutes which limit speech that is deemed insulting to Turkish way of life as well as expression of political extremism ( 2010). The media in Turkey is regulated by both domestic and international legislations.

Although there is a progression towards democracy, Turkey is still ranked 148th out of 179 on the Press Freedom Index (Reporters Without Borders 2012), due to high levels of regulation and legislations controlling the press in censoring the information provided for the public. Government bodies such as the Radio Television Supreme Council (RTUK) and the Communication High Council (HYK) are enforced to maintain standards across the press medium.

On a special note, the emerging trend in the Turkish media scene seems to be shifting towards greater press freedom with groups lobbying for a change in constitutional rights which is being greatly influenced and promoted due to the 2014 election (Kiniklioglu 2012). Furthermore, there have been legislations to allow increase in ownership in foreign and domestic markets.

Private Media Ownership

Apart from the state owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), there are 635 television broadcast stations, 1044 local, 108 regional and 36 privately owned radio stations, and 45 daily newspapers (Press Refence n.d.).

1) Dogan Yayin Group

Dogan Group is the leading media company and one of the largest conglomerates in Turkey and includes a range of companies that operate in many fields such as trade, energy, tourism, retail and more.The Honorary President of Dogan Group, Aydin Dogan, has a net worth of $1.1 billion (Forbes 2012). Amongst the Dogan Group companies is Dogan Yayin Group (DYH), which specialises in media and is one of the primary Turkish media companies. DYH provides a range of content and services including newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, television channels, radio stations, a music production company and more. Through their newspapers, DYH reaches approximately 5 million readers daily (Dogan Holdings 2012).

Some of the key titles of Dogan Yayin include:
(Daily mass circulation Turkish broadsheet
newspaper with online English news articles)
(Daily Turkish tabloid newspaper)
CNN Turk
(Turkish version of the popular news
channel, CNN)
Radyo D
(Popular Turkish radio station)
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external image cnn-turk-logo.jpg
external image Radyod.jpg
Other titles by Dogan Yayin group include:
//Kanal D//, //Radikal// , //Fanatik// , //Hurriyet Daily News// , //CNN Turk Radyo// , //Slow Turk Radyo//

2) Dogus Group

Dogus Group is another leading conglomerate in Turkey, following up in second position after Dogan Group. The chairman of Dogus Group, Ferit F. Sahenk has a net worth of $2.6 billion (Forbes 2012). Dogus Group operates in a number of business sectors such as banking and financial services, automotive, construction, media, tourism and services, real estate and energy.

Dogus Media Group (DMG) is part of the Dogus conglomerate, rapidly growing as one of the media giants in the Turkish media sector. DMG operates the major television and radio stations in Turkey, as well as providing Internet services, producing magazines and publishing books, targeting a national audience. In 2011, DMG expanded its portfolio through the acquisition of STAR TV (Turkey's first private television channel originally owned by Dogan Group) and launched Kral Pop radio and Kral Pop TV successfully attaining a share of approximately 8.3% in the advertising market (Dogus Group 2011).

Major television channels:
(Turkey's first news channel)
(Family entertainment channel)
(Economy/Entertainment channel)
NTV Spor
(Sports channel)
(Popular Music channel)
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//e2//, //HD-e//

Major radio channels:
NTV Radyo
(news channel)
(popular radio channel)
//Virgin Radio//, //NTV Spor Radio//, //Radyo Voyage//, //Radyo Eksen//

Internet platforms include:



3) Cukurova Group

Also acting as a conglomerate in Turkey, Cukurova Group operates in various financial and non-finanial sectors such as banking, industry, construction, media and communication, information technology, energy, transportation and services. The group now aims to expand their portfolio in terms of mobile communications and integrated media services (Cukurova Group 2010). As chairman, Mehmet Emin Karamehmet has a net worth of $2.9 billion according to Forbes (2012), however in the recent years he is struggling due to a loss in financial stability. Nonetheless, the group plays a vital part in the Turkish media sector delivering media content to a wide audience in the form of newspapers, magazines, television and radio broadcasting services, and digital platforms.

TurkMedya, the main media department of Cukurova Group, produces Aksam and Gunes (major newspaper titles) which aim to deliver only 'objective news' to the audience (Cukurova Group 2010). The department also produces five different magazines (Alem, Autocar, Stuff, FourFourTwo and Platin) and two radio stations (Alem FM and Lig Radyo).
Popular media outlets that belong to TurkMedya
Apart from TurkMedya, Cukurova Group broadcasts five television channels (Show TV, ShowTurk, ShowMax, ShowPlus and SkyTurk). Additionally, in terms of digital broadcasting, Cukurova Group has made a long term investment in creating a digital platform named DigiTurk which reaches a wider audience via mobile phones.

4) Calik Holding

The chairman of Calik Holdingsis Ahmet Calik, whose company has approximately a $3 million USD turnover (Calik Holdings 2012). Calik Holdings's operations go beyond Turkey and reach regions ranging from Central Asia to North Africa, and from Middle East to the Balkans (Calik Holdings 2012). They comprise of companies in multiple sectors such as textiles, energy, construction, media and more. In 2008, Calik Holdings completed a $1.1 billion takeover of ATV-Sabah media group to expand their media sector of the company (Calik Holdings 2012). As a result, Calik Holdings now operates four television channels (ATV, ATV Avrupa, A Haber and Minika TV), one radio station (Radyo City), owns six newspapers (Sabah, Sabah Avrupa, Takvim, Gunaydin, Yeni Asir, Fotomac) and an array of magazines in various fields including news, fashion, youth and more. Additionally, Calik owns one of two distribution companies and one of the largest printing facilities in Turkey.

Some of the main titles of Calik Holdings are:
(Daily Turkish newspaper)
Yeni Asir
(Daily Turkish newspaper)
(One of the most widely watched
television channels in Turkey)
A Haber
(Turkish television news channel)
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external image ATV1.jpeg
external image ahaber.jpg

Public Broadcasting in Turkey

On May 1st 1964, the first broadcasting company in Turkey came into existance, The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT). The TRT was established by the state and was the monopoly in broadcasting. For many years the TRT was the only television and radio provider, so enjoyed the monopoly for decades and was without competition. The monopoly in television and radio broadcasting was lifted by the parliament in August 1993.


The principle of funding is similar to that in most countries. Around 20% of TRT's funding comes from government grants and around 10% comes from advertising. The other 70% is obtained through taxes received by television and radio receivers.


The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation provides many television channels, such as the family channel TRT-1 which is the most watched television channel in Turkey. TRT-1 was the very first television channel in Turkey, launching on January 31th 1968. It is directed at many different kinds of audiences, but mostly at families. TRT-1 was the only channel until 1986, when Kanal was launched (which later became TRT-2, and which is now called TRT Haber or TRT News). Like the name suggests, TRT News broadcasts mainly news programs, especially during day time, but also shows documentaries and films. Other popular TV channels are TRT-3 which broadcasts sports events and news, and TRT Cocuk, that has programs for children. Other popular television channels from the TRT are TRT GAP (regional), TRT Anatolia (regional), TRT-6, TRT Turk, TRT Avaz, TRT Belgesel, TRT Musik, TRT-Etturkye, TRT HD and TRT Spor.


Radio broadcasting in Turkey started on May 6th 1927, long before the TRT arised. In that time it started with a private company, which was owned by the state. When the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation was established in 1968, the radio became part of it. When the radio broadcasting in Turkey started, there was only one radio channel for a long time: Radyo1. Radyo1 still exists today and broadcasts education, culture and news programs. From 1927 to now, TRT Radyo has expanded from one to ten radio channels, a lot of them offering music programs. Radyo2, also known as TRT FM, offers mostly songs in the top charts. Radyo3 offers a wide range of music, from classical to modern music. Other radio channels that provide other forms of music including classical, traditional and folk music, are Radyo4, TRT Folk Song and TRT Nagme. Some national radio channels from TRT are TRT Radio News, Voice of Turkey, TRT's Kurdish Radio Channel and TRT Avrupa FM. Besides the national radio channels, TRT also provide some regional channels.
trt radio logo.gif


History of media regulation

Media regulation in the republic of Turkey dates back to 1857 when Turkey became a republic, when the Ottoman Empire issued laws to govern printing houses. In this respect books had to be thoroughly inspected by the authorities before they could be legally published. Since then, the media in Turkey has operated under very difficult situations due to constant censorship from authorities which in many cases has resulted in closure of various media houses. The establishment of the Turkish Radio and television corporation (TRT) on 1st May 1964 marked a turning point for the Turkish mass media. Transformation of the state broadcasting to an authorised corporation enabled close supervision of developments in the field ( 2010). However, mass media was largely remained as state monopolies until 1994 when the state enacted the law enabling the establishment of private media houses. Although the law now allows establishment of private media houses, strict state regulations applies to both their establishment as well as their operations. It was only more recently in 2011 that the law (No. 3984) was overhauled and replaced with a more friendly law (No. 6112) to regulate the media.

TV and radio regulation

A number of legislations have been enacted with the aim of regulating television and radio broadcasting in Turkey. Among them is Law No. 3984 enacted in 1994 to regulate the media. Article 8 of the law establishes the Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTUK) and gives it legal autonomy over the media. Under the act, the council has taken part in national and regional frequency planning as well as providing licenses to private individuals. In addition, the council supervises the media houses in a bid to ensure that they operate within the laid down procedures. Incase of violation of the media principles, the council can revoke the licenses issued to the media houses (Chadbourne & Parke LLP 2011). In addition, various secondary regulations under this law have been enacted in order to run the industry. They include the satellite regulation, the cable regulation, and the allocation of frequency regulation, the content regulation as well as the regulation of close circuit TV. Another important regulation is the administrative and financial conditions regulation which outlines the preconditions required for establishment and operation of media houses.
Another important media regulation is law No. 6112 on the establishment of radio and television enterprises that came into existence in March 2011 which replaced the law No. 3984. The reason for the change was to respond to technological developments and align the Turkish media with the rest of the EU (Chadbourne & Parke LLP 2011). The law places the regulator (RTUK) under a number of responsibilities including overseeing the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting, regulation of players in the digital industry as well as content and ownership composition regulation.

The Internet regulation

Due to its high sensitivity to inappropriate online content as well as defamation, the Turkish government highly regulates the Internet as well as the print media. Consequently, this has resulted in the closure of many websites as well as newspapers and magazines operations. The Turkish telecom’s infrastructure filters all Internet traffic, enabling control over online content. Besides the media control and censorship association (RTUK), newly established Telecommunication and Transmission Authority has the authority to impose bans on online sites without seeking judicial approval (Wood, 2011). This occurs in a number of cases including hosting of content deemed illegal under Turkish law and hosting contents that are sexually abusive to children or are considered obscene. Websites and print media can also be shutdown if it circulates information that violates copyright laws, hosting information that promotes terrorism, hosting information that is abusive to state organs as well as private individuals and hosting information that contravenes sections 24, 25, 26 and 28 of Turkish constitution on human freedoms of religion, thought, expression and freedom of press.

Basis of media regulation

The council which is the mass media regulating body in Turkey is charged with the responsibility of ensuring strict adherence to the code of operation by the media. The legal basis of media regulation stems from laws that prohibit speech that is deemed anti-Turkish and which may express political extremism for the sake of public safety. Consequently, RTUK is authorised to close down operations of any media house that is deemed anti-Turkish and which may promote acts of indecency and terrorism (Jamiel, 2008). The enactment of law No. 3894 as well as law No. 6112 was necessitated by a number of factors which include:

a) Increasing affordable access to broadband services and products that are affordable,

b) Encouraging competition in the mass media that would provide the citizens with meaningful and reliable choice of media products and services,

c) Promotion of competition and diversity as well as facilitation of transition to digital modes of delivery by 2014 and,

d) Enhancement of public safety through regulation of the media activities.

Self regulation

Although the mass media in Turkey is highly regulated by the government, there have been efforts towards self regulation. This is a joint effort by various media houses to regulate themselves (Gregory, 2009). This is achieved through coming up with common editorial guidelines to govern media in Turkey which each media house is bound to abide by. Self regulation media in Turkey is a big step towards attaining media freedom with the media taking responsibility for quality and honesty while preserving their editorial autonomy.


The Constitution

The constitution as amended on October 17th, 2001, Article 28 states: “The press is free, and shall not be censored.” However the constitution would then amend that “No ban shall be placed on the reporting of events, except by the decision of judge issued to ensure proper functioning of the judiciary, within the limits specified by law.”
Although the constitution does instate that the “press is free” the judiciary does have the right to censor all media outlets under the constitutional provisions which have been interpreted upon the grounds of “protecting basic characteristics of the Republic” as well as the provision of “safeguarding the indivisible integrity of the State with its territory and nation”

1994 Radio and Television Law (No. 3984)/ RTUK

After the fall of state monopoly in 1993, the law was passed in 1994 which established the Radio Television Supreme Council (RTUK). The Law states in Article 6:
“Supreme Council shall be composed of nine members elected by the Turkish Grand National Assembly from among persons who have at least four years of higher education, ten years of professional working experience in public and private organizations, sufficient professional knowledge and experience and qualification for being a state employee and shall be over the age of 30.”
The RTUK is an established body which is used to regulate private broadcasting in means which comply with the legal broadcasting frameworks. Therefore under this law, all television and radio broadcasts are under the supervision of the RTUK, whom, have the ability to give penalty for breaching this framework. It should be noted this is only in associated with private networks, not public broadcasts.

Other Regulatory Bodies & Partnership

Due to the high speed needed in order to stop un-regulated broadcasting being established. The Communication High Council HYK, founded in 1983, was established in order to approve communication policies. The Telecommunication Authority TK, founded in 2000, was established to regulate and control the telecommunication sector of broadcasting. These two councils along with the Radio Television Supreme Council would come together as partners in 2002.

2004 Right for Information Act

The Right for Information Act (No. 4982) entitles that all public and private intuitions and authorities as well as organisations give times responses (within 15 days) to applications that pertain activities under the act and provide the applicant with the documents which are needed. This however does exclude documents which are excluded by the act.

2007 Internet Censorship

In May 2007 a law which was concerned “regulations of publications on in the internet and suppression of crimes committed through such publications”. This law entitled that the telecommunications communication presidency (TIB) would become authorized to execute court orders which would allow them to block websites that are able to be viewed by the Turkish public. These blocked websites are for content which includes that which provides inside or outside information about Turkey committing crimes which include child pornography, that encourage drugs and those which promote crimes against Ataturk. Known blocked websites include YouTube, Myspace and Geocites and it is approximated that 3,700 websites have been blocked due to this law.

2011 Emergence of Technology & Shift In Legislations

In March 2011 the Turkish media law introduced Law No. 6112 which is based on the Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and Their Broadcasts. This law repelled previous law No. 3984 and was created as a response the new technological developments and would further help to align Turkish legislation with their commitments to the EU. This new legislation introduced changes such as:
  • Licenses would be produced by the RTUK, broadcasts would be completely changed to digital broadcasting and licensing would also be changed for digital broadcasting.
  • Increased the amount of foreign ownership from 25% to 50% as well as allowing for shareholders to now have shares in two different media companies, not just one.
  • New limitations on the permitted commercial breaks, telemarketing and self-promotion which includes the authorization for the Prime Minister to impose a ban on any broadcast which is deem that “national security clearly necessitates it”.
This law is applicable to all radio, television and on demand services which are able to reach the Turkey jurisdiction, it is not based on whether or not the company is held within the jurisdiction.


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