Turkish chief editor resigns after newspaper sale to pro-govt business

The editor-in-chief of Hürriyet, one of the country’s highest circulation newspapers, has resigned after the newspaper and its parent company, Doğan Media Group, was sold to a pro-government businessman, Erdoğan Demirören.

Fikret Bila, Hürriyet’s editor-in-chief, resigned from the newspaper on Friday, also handing in notice of his retirement. Bila had been working for Hürriyet since 2016, after leaving Milliyet, another newspaper owned by Hürriyet’s new owner Erdoğan Demirören.

Demirören’s surprise purchase of Doğan Media Group in March was greeted by deep concern by Turkey’s opposition, as it spells the end of the last semi-independent mainstream media company in the country.

With the Doğan group now controlled by a businessman known for his deep ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), an estimated 92 percent of media outlets in Turkey are considered pro-government.

Fikret Bila’s is the most significant so far in a wave of personnel changes that are expected to reshape the editorial line of Hürriyet newspaper as well as Doğan Media Group’s other properties, including CNN Türk, one of the country’s most popular news broadcasters.

Bila’s place has been taken by Vahap Munyar, an economy writer for Hürriyet. It is currently unclear whether Munyar's position will be permanent.