Albayrak Holding, which owns the pro-government Yeni Şafak daily, has been awarded 437 public tenders over the past 11 years under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), yet another sign of the problematic relationship between media companies and the Turkish government, the Kronos news website reported.
The total value of tenders awarded to the holding stands at TL 7 billion, ($791 million). Nuri Albayrak, one of the holding’s owners, is a close friend of AKP leader and president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Albayrak’s subsidiaries are active in 21 sectors, from construction and car rental to garbage collection. The holding has also purchased previously state-owned sugar refineries in Erzincan and Erzurum and a paper manufacturing company in Balıkesir in a move that sparked criticism of the AKP government for privatizing companies run by the state for decades.
According to experts the Turkish media ownership structure prevents the public from receiving reliable information because most media company owners have business activities in other sectors, which makes objective journalism difficult as the principles of journalism are likely to clash with their business interests.