A major shake-up at Doğan Media
Doğan Holding Honorary Chairman Aydın Doğan.A senior executive of the Doğan Group, the leading independent media group in Turkey, offered his resignation today amid allegations in social media that he repeatedly maintained correspondence with Berat Albayrak, the Minister of Energy and the son-in-law of President Tayyip Erdoğan, and the CEO of the rival Sabah newspaper, Serhat Albayrak, who is also the brother of the Energy Minister.
Throughout the week, a hacker group called RedHack has been publishing e-mails in the public domain that were allegedly hacked by accessing the e-mail account of the Minister of Energy.
Among those e-mails are ones allegedly belonging to Mr. Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ, who is the son-in-law Mr. Aydın Doğan, the Honorary Chairman of the Doğan Media Group. Mr. Yalçındağ was acting as the coordinator of the media group since early 2016.
Mr. Yalçındağ denied the veracity of the e-mails and stated that his personal notes in his private computers were hacked, distorted and made to appear as e-mails sent to government officials and to the chief executive of Sabah newspaper to discredit him and the Doğan Group. He has stated that a technical analysis has been launched to determine the origin of the “completely false” e-mails. He has denied any communications with Sabah and government officials as claimed by the hacker group.
In view of these developments, Mr. Yalçındağ resigned from his position as the coordinator of Doğan Media in order to avoid “damaging the credibility of the group”.
Assessing the developments Mr. Aydın Doğan made the following statement to Hürriyet Daily News:
“I approve the resignation decision of Mr. Yalçındağ. I thank him for his past services to our media group. Doğan Media Group has remained independent and impartial against all odds and has paid a high price when necessary to maintain independent journalism over the past 40 years in service of people’s right to know. This was most recently demonstrated by CNN Türk, a Doğan company, on the night of the July 15 coup attempt by playing a pivotal role in broadcasting President Tayyip Erdoğan’s first message to the nation. A strong spirit of unity and democratic solidarity has emerged across Turkey after the night of July 15. As the most senior publisher in Turkey who has witnessed many ups and downs in the course of Turkish democracy, I strongly believe that this spirit will make Turkey a stronger nation. Media freedom is a sine qua non for democracy, and it should be protected at all costs. Our editorial guidelines will remain wedded to freedom of speech, human rights and the universal principles of journalism."