Turkey’s sole financial newspaper sold due to economic slump

Turkey’s Dünya newspaper, the only financial newspaper in the country, has been sold to its former editor-in-chief due to problems in repaying its debts, opposition daily Sözcü reported on Thursday.

Didem Demirkent, the former owner of Dünya, said in a written statement that it had become impossible for the company to continue operating under her management because it could not cope with the impact of a contraction in Turkey’s economy and its increasing debts. 

Demirkent said they had chosen to sell the newspaper to Hakan Güldağ, since they were sure that he would remain committed to the values of the newspaper as its former editor-in-chief.

Dünya, seen by many Turks as the equivalent of the U.K.’s Financial Times, was founded in 1981 by Nezih Demirkent, who had also served as the editor-in-chief for 20 years until his death. Didem, his daughter, took over management in 2001. 

The newspaper managed to stay afloat during a series of economic crises in the 1990s and a financial crisis in 2001, remaining an independent media outlet without financial support from any business group. Most Turkish newspapers are owned by corporations active in other sectors of the economy.

Turkish companies have been struggling with cash flow problems and paying their mostly foreign-currency denominated debts since the Turkish lira hit record lows last year due to investors’ concerns over an overheating economy and a diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington over the detention of an American pastor. The currency has lost almost 10 percent of its value this year, after declining 28 percent in 2018.

The economy slumped into recession in the second half of last year before emerging with positive quarter-on-quarter growth in the first three months of 2019. Some economists warn that the recovery may only be temporary because of structural problems in the economy that the government has failed to address.