Jul 02 2019

Sabah newspaper says Reuters employed Gülenist to damn Turkish media

Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah on Tuesday accused international media organisation Reuters of employing a member of the Gülen Movement, a secretive Islamist organisation that Turkey blames for a 2016 coup attempt, to write damning reports on the Turkish media.

Journalist Servet Yanatma was a fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University between 2015 and 2016 and wrote an analysis on Turkish media for Reuters Institute's 2019 Digital News Report released last month. He was previously a senior foreign policy reporter at Zaman newspaper, which the government shut down months before the failed coup for its links to the Gülen movement.

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, a research centre at the University of Oxford, is funded by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Thomson Reuters. The report was based on research conducted by British market researchers YouGov.

Sabah said the Gülen movement sent Yanatma to Britain for his doctorate in 2015 when he was working for Zaman newspaper.

Yanatma's analysis said the Sözcü and Cumhuriyet newspapers, both critical of the government, were the two most popular newspapers in Turkey, TV news sources Fox and NTV tended to be most trusted broadcasters and trust in pro-government media had dropped off.

Sabah accused Yanatma of being a Gülenist and carrying out a "political media operation" using the name of Reuters and Oxford University to target the Turkish government.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has tightened his grip on the media, especially after the sale of Doğan Media Group, which included numerous liberal and progressive outlets, to pro-government conglomerate Demirören Holding in March 2018, Yanatma wrote.

Thousands of people in Turkey have been detained since the failed coup over alleged links to the Gülen movement, previously allied to Erdoğan’s party.