March 28, 2018

IT’S GOOD TO BE THE SULTAN: Turkey’s last big independent media firm is snapped up by a regime ally.

For one of the country’s largest media conglomerates, the sale must have felt like a coup de grâce. Dogan outlets, including two of the country’s four biggest newspapers, Hurriyet and Posta; a leading television channel, CNN Turk; and a news agency, among many others, have been squirming under government pressure for years. The group’s ageing owner, Aydin Dogan, one of the symbols of Turkey’s deposed secular order, has been hounded by tax inspectors and prosecutors. People close to his group say Mr Dogan conducted the sale without consulting any associates. Some believe the mogul faced arrest unless he sold his empire to one of the president’s men. Had that happened to the 81-year-old, he would have joined over a hundred other Turkish journalists already in prison, most of them jailed since the failed coup of 2016.

The move leaves Mr Erdogan and his allies in control of almost all big media outlets ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections due next year.

The election suspense isn’t exactly killing anyone — but Erdogan might.

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