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European Parliament Priorities for Turkey Following the Elections of the 12th of June 2012: the Need for “Uzlaşma”

The situation of the media in the country has become one of the most defining factors in the failure of a fully functioning democracy in Turkey. The urgency of undertaking the reforms in the areas of human rights and freedom of the press has been emphasised by The EU Commission Turkey 2010 Progress Report and by the Commissioner of Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammerberg’s, Report on Media Freedom in Turkey, in April of 20113. The Shift in the Media Ownership Structure While talking about the freedom of press, it would be a mistake not to mention the shift in the media ownership structure in Turkey. Since coming to power in 2002, the ruling party AKP used legal loopholes to confiscate and to sell independent media organizations to party supporters, and the media landscape changed drastically. In 2002, pro-AKP businesses owned less than 20 percent of Turkish media outlets. Today, pro-government partisans own around half of it. Media companies are split into “proponents” and “opponents” of the government. It is argued that the government has facilitated the establishment of “proponent” media organizations by providing easy credit and also by indirectly threatening “opponent” media owners by opening tax-related procedures against them. The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund’s (IMSF) intervention has changed the ownership of various media companies during the last decade. As a result of this, groups previously unengaged in media activities have stepped into the sector. Media owners, in fact, have substantial investments in other sectors, including construction, and energy. The presence of such economic and financial relations between the government and media owners through processes of privatization, and the issuing of concessions, privileges and royalties undermines media independence.

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Turkey on the European Doorstep  

A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...

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