Media - Energy Related Groups
There are four main groups that are involved both in energy and media.
Media-> It owns Sabah Newspaper and ATV Tv Channel. Husband of Erdoganâ€™s daughter works in Calik. Calik bought Sabah and ATV in 2007 by taking a $750 million loan from HalkBank. Rumors are that Erdogan played an important role in giving this loan to Calik without taking enough capital guarantee. However, there is no problem of re-payment for the moment.
Energy-> Calik Enerji. It has several oil exploration licenses in Turkey and operates in Turkmenistan. Calik Enerji looks like the biggest international energy company of Turkey. It has interest in investing several countries like Iraq and Libya. Samsun - Ceyhan pipeline is being constructed by ENI and Calik.
Political leaning-> Sabah used to be owned by another businessman. (Dinc Bilgin) At the time, Sabah was an investigative newspaper. But Dinc Bilgin was tried in 2002 due to frauds in a bank that he was involved. After 2007, Sabah is apparently pro-AKP but still a reliable source. They donâ€™t misinform more than other newspapers but their comments/columnists are biased. The point here is that there is strong belief that AKP intervened in selling of Sabah 2007 and helped Calik to buy it. Obviously, Sabah was designed to be a rival of Hurriyet.
Media-> HaberTurk Newspaper, HaberTurk News Channel, HaberTurk news website, and BloomberHT economy channel (as of Jan. 27).
Energy-> ParkTeknik. It is the Turkish partner of Russian-led consortium that will build the nuclear power plant.
Political leaning-> As a pretty new newspaper, HaberTurk does not publish controversial issues. But they are not a-politic. In the news channel, HaberTurk usually broadcast discussion programs where journalists, MPs and former generals meet.
Media-> It owns Show TV (a private tv channel) Itâ€™s not known as an important news center.
Energy-> Cukurova owns Genel Enerji which operates in N. Iraq in a consortium with Taq Taq Oil Co. (see the research that I sent to you few months ago)
Political leaning-> Not so much of a political tv channel. Usually, popular stuff, dramas and things like superstar, who wants to be a millionare etc.
Media-> Owns NTV News channel and NTVMSNBC news website. Both are known as reliable news sources. They have programs and news of good quality.
Energy-> Mostly dealing with renewable energy companies. We should look at their position if AKP rams up renewable projects in the future.
Political leaning-> Can be qualified as an unbiased news channel. Dogus CEO was in Davos meeting this year.
Other Media Groups
Pure Gulenist. Owns Zaman, Todayâ€™s Zaman and Aksiyon weekly. Plus, it has its own news agency which is called Cihan. Since 2003, AKP it started to distribute text books for primary and high school kids for free. Those books are published by Feza. This costs around 20 million TRY (around $13.3 million) according to Ministry of Education data.
Dogan Media Group
Owsn Hurriyet, Milliyet, CNNTURK (news channel), Radikal (social-democrat newspaper), Referans (economy newspaper), Posta (middle-class newspaper), Kanal D (popular TV channel), Star (popular TV channel) and Dogan News Agency.
I am not going to repeat the Dogan insight that we already have. Essentially, Dogan is not anti-AKP. Dogan is anti-one party powerful government. It wants to control the government and of course itâ€™s easier to influence unstable coaltion governments than an influential figure. It had exactly the same problem with Ozal in late 1980s. Dogan started exactly the same campaign â€œcivil dictatorshipâ€ against Ozal in 1989. Itâ€™s just an interest group that needs to deal with the governments a lot. The AKP source said to me: â€œDogan made a big mistake. If you donâ€™t want AKP to be the government again, thatâ€™s ok. But why campaign against AKP? Dogan has a lot of weak points (especially in financial arrangements)â€
Few days ago, the Court refused Doganâ€™s prescription (against itâ€™s tax fine case) demand. Dogan Group and Aydin Dogan himself are in big trouble.
Dogan, too, has an energy company which is called Petrol Ofisi. But PO operates only in distribution of oil in Turkey.
ï»¿MFA - TIKA - TUSKON
Turkey has opened 10 new embassies in various countries of Africa, which are:
Dar es-Salam (Tanzania), Akra (Ghana), Maputo (Mozambique), Antananarivo (Madagascar), Adibdjan (Ivory Coast), Yaounde (Cameroon), Luanda (Angola), Bamako (Mali), Niamet (Niger), Nâ€™djamena (Chad). Plus, Bogota (Colombia) and Valetta (Malta)
From my experience, I can say that MFA is definitely overwhelmingly secular. At the beginning, it was not in good terms with AKP, but the relationship between AKP and the ministry advanced when Gul was foreign minister. But still, the ministry is in the hands of secularists.
I called a very close friend of mine, who works in the administrative part of the Ministry. (He is not a diplomat, but he can see CVs of newcomers). This year, 50 new diplomats have been hired by the ministry to match the stuff need which the new embassies created. Here is what he says: â€œYou have no idea how many of â€˜themâ€™ have been accepted to the ministry this year. Police and interior ministry are already theirs. But the MFA is in transition period (from secularists to Gulenists).â€ He told me that he has seen the names of the high schools of the newcomers (It is hardly possible to distinguish Gulenists according to the university. High school is a better proof). Some of those high schools are private and almost all of them are owned by Gulenists. He says there are even those who graduated from Imam-Hatips. I asked him to compare with the last year. He says there were also some Gulenist guys last year, but this year is certainly a breakthrough.
Then I talked with another friend, who organized a Model United Nations at a university. She invited students from Gulenist high schools too. She says that it is impressive how those students know what to do and say (better than undergrad students). They told her that â€œbrothersâ€ teach them everything (Brothers are Gulenist guys, who give educational support to Guelnist students, in special houses called Isik â€œLightâ€) and they want to get into the MFA. So, they work hard.
There are two points that we should keep in mind when talking about AKPâ€™s clout within the MFA. First, the new embassies might be related to Gulen. But it is also related to Turkeyâ€™s non-permanent membership in UNSC as well. Some countries asked for embassy to vote for Turkeyâ€™s candidacy. Second, it is too early to talk about the impact of Gulen within the MFA. It takes 20 years in order to a diplomat have a significant say in the ministry. It is like a civilian army in terms of hierarchy, a junior diplomat is pretty much without impact. But remember the summary that I sent out to MESA about the restructuring of the MFA that Davutoglu declared. He said that it will be possible to become an ambassador at younger ages. A smart plan here.
Turkish Cooperation Development Agency. Created by the Turkish government in early 1990s to forge ties with the former Soviet Union Turkic countries. It did not really make big progress at the time. But looks like AKP reinvigorated TIKA, especially to increase its influence in Africa. Davutoglu once said that TIKA works like the second MFA. I talked with a diplomat who used to work for TIKA but he said it is pretty difficult to get insight from within the TIKA. Following is a summary of TIKAâ€™s activities which were included in annual report of 2008.
TIKA has made significant progress since 2004 in terms of institutionalisation and 2008 has been the most productive year in terms of putting into implementation decisions made in previous years and taking these developments one step further.
In addition to Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Balkans maintaining their priority status in 2008, the implementation of large development focused programs and activities have commenced in Africa.
According to the regional distribution of expenditure in 2008, South and Central Asia received a 53.89% share. One of the reasons for this majority share can be attributed to international commitments made by Turkey towards the â€œReconstruction of Afghanistan Programâ€ within the body of international organisations.
Following the commencement of activities in the Balkans and East Europe in 2002, the region ranked second with a share of 24.58% of TIKAâ€™s total expenditure. The continent of Africa on the other hand, represents a 10.96% share of TIKAâ€™s total expenditure.
There is information on TIKAâ€™s activities in each country. But there is something which attracted my attention a lot. TIKA has a â€œTurcology Programâ€ since 2000. As you know, one of Gulenâ€™s programs aim to teach Turkish to foreign students. They organize Turkish Olympiads each year and Gulenist TV Channels show little black children in Africa singing Turkish national anthem. So, I checked TIKA - Gulen relationship in this Turcology program in particular. There are tens of articles on Gulenâ€™s official website that praise TIKAâ€™s useful activities. These articles explicitly indicate that TIKA supports (Gulenâ€™s) Turkish language education programs. The following is from TIKAâ€™s report:
â€œThe Turcology Program which was commenced by TIKA in 2000 is a program that aims at increasing cultural, trade and political relations in numerous countries by widening the use of the Turkish language. Increasing statistical data reinforces the positive results of the program.
Within the scope of the program, protocols are signed with a number of leading universities in respective countries to secure the establishment of Turcology/Turkish Language and Literature Units and Turkish Cultural Centres as well as to improve their physical conditions and upkeep.
As of the 2009 academic year, cooperation was undertaken with 33 universities in 21 countries and two autonomous republics. A total of 37 lecturers and 47 local staff were appointed in these centres and units.
Turcology centres are located in Afghanistan, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Palestine, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Slovakia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Yemen, Ukraine, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Republic of Tatarstan.
Approximately 2016 students received tuition in the Turcology units supported by TIKA in the 2008/09 academic year. Further, within the scope of the program, Turkish tuition aimed primarily at civil servants was provided to close to 1500 people in many countries.â€
Turkey Industry and Businessmen Confederation, composed of 14,844 entrepreneur. I wasnâ€™t aware of this association until I saw an item about TUSKON by Todayâ€™s Zaman on OS.
From a quick newspaper research, I saw that all businessmen attached to TUSKON are close to Gulen. And I checked this from Gulenâ€™s official website. There are hundreds of articles on TUSKONâ€™s activities and how it helps to improve the infrastructure of various countries especially in Africa. One article says that TUSKON is an alternative to Davos. Around 600 businessmen from Africa attended to a conference organized by TUSKON in February in Istanbul. Besides, an influential member of TUSIAD said that TUSIAD is not unrivaled any more is was the case in the past, and now there is TUSKON.
TUSKON includes various federations of Anatolian businessmen, who are the economic base of AKP. Many AKP politicians attend TUSKON conferences.