Turkish public bank financing Erdoğan-ally takeover of Doğan media

A Turkish state bank is to finance the takeover of the Doğan Media Group by the pro-government Demirören Group with the extension of a $675 million loan on excellent terms, independent online news outlet T24 reported.

Turkish public lender Ziraat Bank will not require any repayment for the first two years of the 10-year loan and is charging a very low rate of interest on it, the news site said. The total purchase price of the group was agreed at $916 million.

Online news outlet Ahval has reported that the deal is reminiscent of the $750 million lent by state banks Halkbank and Vakıfbank to the government-linked Çalık Holding in 2008 to buy the Sabah-ATV group, which included the Sabah and Takvim newspapers and news channel aHaber.

Those media assets, later sold to another government ally, have since become known for their aggressive pro-government partisanship.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 245 journalists and media workers were in jail as of April 4, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 188 were under arrest pending trial while only 57 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 140 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down about 200 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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