This OSC product is based exclusively on the content and behavior of selected media and has not been coordinated with other US Government components.
1.1.Istanbul, Turkey's Media Hub
Istanbul is Turkey's historic, business, intellectual, media, and print capital, hosting thecountry's major national dailies and periodicals. The city is home to some 40 major dailieswith nationwide reach and 30 provincial publications. The major national dailies are mostly published as morning editions seven days a week, with some printing Sunday or Friday extras.Because of the large Turkish expatriate population, some leading papers are also publishedabroad, mostly in Germany. According to figures announced by the Turkish Statistical Board(TUIK) on 20 June 2008, some 5,674 newspapers and magazines were in circulation in Turkeyin 2007. Of those in circulation, 58.5 percent were periodical magazines. The newspaperswere divided in the following manner: 91.6 percent were officially designated as "localnewspapers," 2.5 percent as "regional newspapers," and 5.9 percent as "national newspapers."Technological advances in recent years have furthered Istanbul newspapers' ability to reachwider national and international audiences and have allowed many of them to act as newsagencies by incorporating breaking news at a fast pace. The advent of the so-called "plazasystem" in Istanbul has also contributed to the city's dominance in the field of print media.Under this system, business-driven media groups have gathered their formerly scattered mediaoutlets under one roof, thus enabling them to publish several national dailies with slightvariations in political slant with the use of a common pool of information, assets, and staff.
1.2.Big Business Controls Media
Most of Turkey's mainstream dailies, both secularist and Islamist, are basically colorful, mass-appeal papers controlled by business conglomerates or influential sects. There is a diversity of opinion on domestic issues along factional party lines, but the tendency of conglomerates toshy away from controversy, the history of state intervention, and the popularity of nationalismdiscourage dissenting opinion on international developments that immediately impact Turkey.More diverse views appear in the mainstream press in periodic swings engendered byfluctuating domestic and foreign factors, and more consistently in small circulation sectarian,ethnic, political, organizational, and professional periodicals, which have limited distributionafter restrictions by major media conglomerates or the courts.
1.3.Legal Environment Governing Journalism
Article 26 of the Constitution proclaims freedom of the press, and the state and mediaestablishments annually celebrate the anniversary of the lifting of press censorship on 24 July1908. The reality, however, is noticeably different. Under the original and recently amendedArticle 301 of the new Turkish Penal Code, journalists are subject to heavy penalties for crossing official taboos or vaguely defined Turkish national sensitivities. After being forced toresign from unions soon after the 1980 coup, journalists fear being fired for controversialarticles. Lawsuits are also frequently brought against the authors of controversial articles. Allthis has created the conditions for the application of self-censorship on sensitive subjects, thuscreating the impression that both the secularists and Islamists take a monolithic approach whenit comes to fundamental ethnic and foreign policy issues.