Turkish state bank may be behind purchase of independent media group

The purchase of Doğan Media Group by a pro-government businessman was funded indirectly by the Turkish state, independent news site T24 said.

“Among the consortium of banks formed for the $1.2 billion sale (to Demirören group) was state-owned Ziraat Bank,” the site said.

Opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet said the sale was part of a clear pattern.

“Previously the Çalık Group also bought Sabah Group with credit obtained from (state-owned) Halk Bank and Vakıfbank,” it said.

In total, the pro-government Çalık Group used $750 million of credit from the two public banks in their 2008 $1.1 billion media purchase, Cumhuriyet said, adding that the then-CEO of Halk Bank, Hüseyin Aydın, was now the CEO of Ziraat Bank.

Cumhuriyet said it was rumoured that Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ, the son-in-law of Doğan Media Group’s owner Aydın Doğan, would be brought back to manage the media group post-sale.

Yalçındağ resigned from the post in September 2016 after hackers exposed emails apparently written to government representatives including plans to fire Doğan Media Group commentators deemed overly critical of the government. He maintains the emails were faked.