Pro-gov’t media outlets received millions from Istanbul municipality under AKP - columnist

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) under the leadership of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) between 2017-2019, provided 57 million lira ($ 9.5 million) in advertising fees to pro-government media outlets, wrote Yeniçağ columnist Murat Ağırel.

The decision by two pro-government newspapers last week to shut down after Istanbul's opposition mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu cancelled monthly municipal advertising deals with the pro-government TürkMedya group, has reignited a discussion on wasteful spending during the municipality’s 14-year rule under the ruling AKP.

İmamoğlu, after taking to office in June, had vowed to do away with the İBB’s extravagant spending and recently cut the monthly transfer of 10 million lira ($1.8 million) in advertising fees to TürkMedya, prompting Güneş and Star newspaper to shut down citing financial problems.

Güneş and Star may not be the only media outlets to be affected by opposition mayor İmamoğlu’s decision to end municipal advertising deals, Ağırel said in his column on Wednesday.

Other pro-government outlets such as those part of the Turkuaz Holding, owned by the family of Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, received 15 million lira ($2.5 million); Yenişafak and TVNET received 9 million lira ($1.5 million); Yeni Akit and Akit TV received 3 million lira ($504,000); Kanal 7, Ülke TV received 1.4 million lira ($235,000), while İstanbul Tv and İstanbul Ajans received 1.5 million liras ($252,000) in advertising funding from the İBB and affiliated organisations between 2017-2019, the article said.

All of the media groups, which are now panicked about funding and thus closure, are outlets that gnawed away at the resources of the ruling AKP, the columnist wrote.