Pro-Erdoğan Turkish-Dutch media funded with Dutch subsidies

Dutch-Turkish media groups that support Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were supported for years with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Het Parool reports based on its own research. The Stimulation Fund for Journalism paid these media groups hundreds of thousands of euros in subsidies. Most of this money could not be recovered because the companies behind the media groups went bankrupt.

According to the Fund, the majority of the companies went bankrupt because they “devoted little attention to the business side of their business.”

One such news agency is Sonhaber, which means ‘latest news.’ The agency received 115 thousand euros from the Fund in 2009. Despite the subsidy, the company accumulated a lot of debt and went bankrupt as a result. It then made a restart with the same people, according to Het Parool. On Saturday Sonhaber called on its website and on social media for people to demonstrate in front of the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.

Foundation Anadolu, the company behind Turkish-Dutch media Doğus, was given 218 thousand euros, of which 156 thousand euros was paid by the Fund. Newspaper Ekin received nearly 184 thousand in 2005 and 2010 and newspaper Kuzey Yıldızı received 178 thousand in 2007.

Rene van Zanten, director of the Fund, agrees that the projects did not go well. He told Het Parool that the intention was for more immigrants to read about the Netherlands. The special regulation was stopped in 2010. He stressed that the Fund now keeps a sharper eye on projects – the selection process is now much stricter and there is continuous supervision.

The Stimulation Fund for Journalism is funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, but makes its own decisions. ( March 18, 2017

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