The Clash: Dogan Media Group versus Tayyip Erdogan and co.
Dogan Sirketler Grubu Holding AS, is currently one of the biggest holding in Turkey and the owner of Turkey’s widely circulated Hurriyet newspaper along with other papers, journals, TV and radio stations, and many other investments. Hurriyet and other Dogan media newspapers such as Radikal, from the very beginning showed a receptive but sceptical view towards the AKP phenomenon. We have seen a delicate balance in their policies towards the AKP. They sidelined Emin Cölasan, the voice of the radical Kemalists in Turkey, and censored another leading Kemalis, Bekir Coskun’s articles, just to keep the relations good with the PM. One of the very reasons that they want to keep the relations good, is that they need the PM in other investments, and in Turkey where nepotism and patronage are still the rules of moneymaking, they had reasons to act so.
The volcano erupted just after President Gül’s ‘unprecedented’ visit to Armenia. The CHP, after showing a hard stance against the Disli affair, carried out the case of Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) a Germany based Turkish charity organisation. The Deniz Feneri is a charity organisation which aims to sent money to Turkey collected from Turkish diaspora in Germany. One German court took the transactions of the charity foundation under loop and it came out that the organisation was playing the role of an illegal money transfer to conservative-islamist media companies and individuals, allegedly involving Mr. Erdogan himself. Once the news were carried out to Hurriyet’s pages, Prime Minister Erdogan, openly attacked the Dogan media to ve disloyal and to produce lies to secure business transactions and government approvals.
Aydin Dogan the owner of the Holding responded Erdogan immediately and labelled him as changing Turkey into a dictatorship and not ready for press freedoms in Turkey. Erdogan continued his attack by giving one week to Aydin Dogan to openly declare his wishes from him, including the Hilton Hotel affair, or otherwise he would announce these motives publicly. He labelled Dogan Media as blackmailing government personnel to secure business transactions and approvals such as the CNN Turk incident.
The importance of the incident is three-fold. Denizfeneri and its connections with the AKP were clearly the target of the German government, after Erdogan’s comments on ‘being careful about not to be assimilated into German identity’ and to forge their ties with the homeland. This is the transnational dimension. The second dimension is the AKP’s attitude towards media and in particular Mr. Erdogan’s characteristic of being ‘critic’ unfriendly. The aim to create a loyal media was highlighted in the Calik Holdinfg’s purchase of the Sabah media group with the help of the government banks credits. Mr. Erdogan still pay tributes to radical Islamist writers by inviting them to his plane and his official travels, encourages them to continue their radical and mostly deceptive policies. And lastly it is the final count down for the Dogan Holding in terms of autonomous media holders, and financial leader. In the last months Dogan Holding’s share dropped drastically in the Turkish stock market, and the downfall continues. Mr. Dogan’s daughter is currently the head of the TUSAID, the businessmen organisation. The Dogan case is the direct link to the heart of the Turkish bourgeoisie, which looses slowly all its self-attained leadership role in Turkish economy, to conservative-Anatolian tigers. It is in this terms an intra-bourgeoise clash, a clash between the old guard and the new social forces which tries to put an end to their privilieged position as industrialists.