Introduction to Turkish English Media
As such, the Turkish media landscape is huge, with more than 2000 national and local newspapers, as well as news portals. Since the publication of the first newspaper (French-language) in 1796, followed by the first Turkish-language newspaper in 1831, the Turkish media industry has undergone massive social and political upheavals. The last, and probably the most prominent of these, came in 2016-17, which saw the closure a large number of publications, especially those critical of the AKP-led government.
Despite the overall vastness of Turkish media, however, dedicated English-language newspapers are rather sparse. Most of the major sources of English news in Turkey are subsidiaries of Turkish-language newspapers, either in print or online or both. Consequently, the control over the generation and distribution of English-language news lies with the conglomerates that run these publications, in accordance with the censorship policies of the contemporary political regime.
Further, the raid and eventual closure of Zaman’s English edition – Today’s Zaman – in 2016, was a major setback for independent, English-language news in Turkey. Understandably, the incident received substantial bad press from the international media.
That said, it’s worthwhile to note that, unlike the general Turkish-language media landscape, the presence of international news organizations has, to an extent, reduced the control of state censorship over English-language news from Turkey. At the least, it has enabled the scope for an alternative space in the otherwise cringed media industry.
In this article, we offer a comprehensive list of English newspapers in Turkey, divided according to the following categories:
A. National & Local English Newspapers in Turkey
B. National Press Agency
C. International News Agencies &Portals
A. National & Local English Newspapers in Turkey
Most English-language newspapers in Turkey are published nationally. However, there are some local English newspapers as well. In this section, we enlist the major English newspapers in Turkey, covering both print and online news portals, that are currently in publication within the Republic, locally as well as nationally.
1. Hürriyet Daily News
Hürriyet Daily News, headquartered in Istanbul, has been one of the largest English news sources in Turkey, for more than fifty years. Formerly known as Turkish Daily News, it came into being in 1961 and is the oldest English-language daily in Turkey.
After having passed into the ownership of the Doğan Media Group in 2001, it came under the banner of Hürriyet, though later, in 2018, Demirören Holdings bought both papers. The Demirören Group is known to be close to the ruling AKP party, and as a conglomerate, has investments spread across a large number of areas.
The prestigious Turkish Hürriyet was originally founded in 1948, by Sedat Simatvi, who was a Turkish writer, journalist, and film director. The political ideology of Hürriyet Daily News has always been secular and center-left or liberal. However, in 2018, the new owners stated their desire to run the newspaper as a non-partisan and independent publication. In fact, some AKP government critics consider this takeover of the Doğan Media group to be an attempt by the ruling government to gain full control of media coverage in Turkey.
The newspaper considers itself to be the “world’s window to Turkey”, and thus focuses on domestic and regional news coverage, including both cultural and economic reporting. It covers areas such as the economy, sports, life, arts and culture and so on. It regularly publishes opinion pieces penned by foremost Turkish intellectuals and journalists. The newspaper has a vibrant photography section that displays the best Turkey has to offer. It also has a robust international news focus.Hürriyet Daily News has a core philosophy of reflecting Turkey exactly as it is to the world, maintaining a fine balance between reporting the country’s successes and failures. It has a nationwide area of distribution, and as of 2018, had a circulation of 6,000 copies.
2. Daily Sabah
In their own words, Daily Sabah is ‘Turkey’s top English newspaper’, and is also available in German, Arabic, and Russian language. It is a general interest daily newspaper owned by Turkuvaz Media Group. In 2018, the circulation of this newspaper was 7,000, bringing to its readers a wide variety of topics such as politics, business, sports, lifestyle, and world news. It considers its publications varied enough to cover all aspects of the current media landscape.
In 2014, Turkish politics was going through a highly antagonistic climate. Multiple papers had begun to publish strong critiques of the ruling AKP government. In an attempt to counteract this, the Daily Sabah newspaper was founded at that time with a clear goal of conveying pro-government ideology to the people. The newspaper has often been called a propaganda outlet of the Turkish government by critics.This is further fuelled by the fact that it is owned by a friend of President Erdoğan, the current president of Turkey.
A nationwide publication, Daily Sabah prides itself on adhering to press ethics and upholding the rule of law and democracy, while still bringing to readers accurate facts. Despite this philosophy, the newspaper has fetched criticism for its stance from various sectors. It has been accused of being the mouthpiece of the Turkish government and using transparent and badly formed propaganda in the process.
It has also faced flak in the parliamentary sessionswhere, in 2017, a Dutch member of the European Parliament attempted to stop the distribution of the newspaper in sessions. The parliament itself has been critical of Daily Sabah’s defense of the AKP government’s human rights records.
3. Yeni Şafak
Yeni Şafak is a daily Turkish newspaper, known for its Islamist, conservative tradition. It was founded in 1994 by Mehmet Ocaktan, who is a Turkish journalist, but also a supporter and former deputy of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Published in Turkish, it also has an English-language version, with separate social media profiles for both languages.
The newspaper has a history of allowing space for liberal columnists as well. However, later political developments turned it into a hardlinersupporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Yeni Şafak has subsequently been accused of targeting opposition groups and minority communities by using hate speech. In 1997, the newspaper was acquired by Albayrak Holding, post which Ibrahim Karagül became the editor-in-chief. This led to an overhaul of the employee composition, with Islamist columnists being engaged, and critical liberals being hired.
The pro-government paper has had its share of controversies as well. Noam Chomsky, the renowned American multi-faceted individual at one point accused the newspaper of fabricating parts of an email interview conducted with him. The fabrications included invented questions and answers, and altered criticism of the President’s approach towards the situation in Egypt and Syria, into a positive angle. After much scandal and denial, the newspaper was forced to acknowledge its mistake and removed the full interview from the website. Yeni Şafak has had a history of misinformation in other historical situations as well.
At the present time, this newspaper brings to Turkey both regional and national news relevant to the country, along with news pertaining to sports, economy, technology and lifestyle.
Agos is an important Armenian newspaper in Turkey, published weekly. It is printed in Turkish and Armenian but has an online English edition. Even though its circulation is not that high, it is still considered significant because of its tradition of freely discussing sensitive subjects.
It was established in 1996 by Turkish-Armenian editor, journalist, and columnist Hrant Dink. Originally, the main purpose of the paper was to bring to public notice all the troubles faced by the Armenians of Turkey.
The editorial philosophy of the newspaper at present allows it to focus on topics like minority rights, democratization, making peace with the past and protection and development of pluralism within Turkey. Its attempt is to serve as a truly independent platform for intellectual debate in Turkey, where freedom of speech is increasingly restricted.
This policy has also brought woe to the newspaper in the past. Hrant Dink – itsfounder and chief editor – wasaccused of ‘denigrating Turkishness’, and was assassinated outside the Agos offices in 2007. His son, Arat Dink, the executive editor of the newspaper, was then named co-defender in the court cases against his father.
Despite the troubles, Agos continues its project of representing the minority to the larger world. It supports projects such as the Turkey-Armenia Beyond Borders project, and publishes news of society, culture, and art, along with other regional and international news.
5. Voices Newspaper
This is a local newspaper based on the West coast of Turkey, bringing news in English to the people of Bodrum, Didim, and West Turkey. It has a general interest in media coverage. It brings to its readers a lively mixed bag of local and international news, with a focus on travel reporting. The Voices also maintains directories of useful phone numbers on its website, including a list of international calling codes.
6. Turkish Press
TurkishPress.com is an online news source, based in Ankara. It is considered to be an independent, comprehensive website thatis neither run by the government nor funded by it. It provides news and information from all around the world, for the people of Turkey. They cover news stories from all the continents, economic and political news from within the country, business and sports news. They have a robust lifestyle section which includes health and fashion news. TurkishPress also has separate sections for news related to diplomacy and new developments in science. An interesting thing about this news portal is that it does not receive any revenue from advertisements.
B. National Press Agency
Akin to most media industries, Turkey also has its press agency that is responsible for collecting, distributing, and to an extent, controlling the circulation of news within the nation and beyond. Despite being a large industry, however, Turkey has only one press agency which publishes news in Turkish, English, and Bosnian language.
7. Anadolu Agency
The Anadolu Agency is a state-run, global news agency which brings news to people across the world in English and twelve other languages. The Agency has a whopping 99 years of experience in the news world, covering various fields such as economics, finance, sports, energy, politics, technology and more.
The history of the Anadolu Agency is also very interesting. In fact, it is considered quite synonymous with the Republic of Turkey. When Istanbul came under occupation and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk called for a new parliament to be established in Ankara, it paved the way for the foundation of this news agency. It was founded in 1920, 17 days before the Turkish Grand National Assembly convened for the very first time. The Anadolu Agency even helped to announce the legislation which brought the Republic to life.
The news agency has subsequently witnessed the National Struggle and the War of Liberation in Turkey. It has also been a part of the reforms of the Republic. In an attempt to make the Anadolu Agency resemble a Western news agency, in 1925, the Anadolu Agency Corporation was formed. It had an autonomous status and an exemplary organization chart!
After the AKP government came to power in Turkey, the Anadolu Agency was made to mirror government ideals. This tighter control over the freedom of the agency has eventually led to the existence of a hegemonic party system in Turkey. Headquartered in Ankara, it is currently the official press agency of the country. The English-language newspaper run by Anadolu Agency is called Anadolu Post. The Anadolu Post section of the website contains links to recent editions of the paper. However, one can only find the main headlines in free e-paper format. For the whole newspaper, one needs to subscribe.
C. International News Agencies & Portals
Alongside the national and local English-language newspapers, as well as Turkey’s national press agency, international news agencies and portals are a major source of English news in Turkey.
8. Aljazeera – Turkey News
Partly funded by the Qatari government, Aljazeera is an independent news organization that is a “private corporation established for public benefit”. With its ideal of being “A Truly Global Network”, Aljazeera ensures substantial coverage of Turkish news, encompassing domains such as politics, health, sports, as well as social issues. Furthermore, it publishes Opinion (Op-ed) pieces on a wide range of contemporary issues.
9. The Guardian – Turkey
Headquartered in the US and Australia, The Guardian is an independent online news portal that covers international news. For optimal autonomy, the Guardian primarily depends on readership subscriptions for its revenues. Having been conferred several prizes for ground-breaking investigative journalism, the portal covers social, political, and economic news from Turkey.
10. BBC – Turkey
Headquartered in the UK and regulated by Ofcom, the British Broadcasting Company, commonly known as BBC, is the “world’s leading public service broadcaster”. Funded primarily by their users’ licence fee, the BBC’s online news portal covers sports, science, business, political, and social news from Turkey.
11. The Independent – Turkey
Established in 1986, The Independent is a UK-based news organization that initially began as broadsheet newspapers, eventually shifting to tabloid in 2003, and finally only to the online edition since 2016. Now, the online portal covers Turkish news in health, political, social, as well as personal domains.
Although the Turkish media landscape is quite vast in general, English-language newspapers and online news portals are rather scarce. Moreover, a majority of the popular sources of English news in print or online are subsidiaries for Turkish-language publications, owned and controlled by giant conglomerates. Given that most of these organizations are sympathisers of the ruling AKP, as well as have significant interests in the Turkish economy, English-language news in Turkey is subjected to strict censorship.
However, international news organizations have played a major role in diminishing the control of censorship over English news, as their policies aren’t governed by the Turkish government. Another crucial factor with regard to English news in Turkey is the fact that most sources are online publications, and can be access across local and national boundaries.
That said, while the media industry is ever-growing, we at MediaBuzz are working hard to gather an encyclopedic coverage of all sorts of news sources. We are a team of professional writers with a knack for spotting and bringing to you trends in the world of journalism.
We are always looking for suggestions that will help us build an even more concise list.
Please help us by answering these questions in the comment section below.
- What are the top two Turkish newspapers in English? Did we miss any that should have been on this list?
- What are your views on the political biases of different Turkish English-language newspapers?
- Which is the most politically neutral English news source in Turkey, at present?
- What are the best Turkish newspapers in English for business, entertainment, and sports news?
- Did any newspaper from this list catch your attention?
- Do you read any of these English-language newspapers from Turkey?
- Is there any other important information on English newspapers in Turkey, which we have missed?
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