This event is the second in a series of discussions organised by Medyascope and ELIAMEP’s Turkey Programme aiming to foster a more informed and sophisticated debate in seven important areas.

There have been both popular and academic efforts to explain the authoritarian turn in Turkey under the AKP administration. The analyses usually separate economic and political factors and focus on a periodization that reflects various terms of AKP in power. The first phase is 2003-2007 (some date to 2010), where AKP is positioned as a democratic party intent on reinforcing EU candidacy. The second term starts from 2011, but especially from 2013 onwards when AKP is increasingly seen as using coercion rather than consent to enforce its policies. This webinar aims to explore how democratic backsliding has been reflected on Turkey’s media sector during the different phases of the AKP administration. It will explore the state of print, electronic and social media, freedom of expression and the main challenges that free media are nowadays facing in Turkey.

In the wake of heightened concerns about democratic backsliding in Turkey and a tendency for competitive authoritarianism, there is renewed interest in analysing the transformation of Turkey’s media system, mainly focusing on an analysis of conventional media. In 2016, a new law enabled the government to suspend or block internet access in case of war or national emergency (Freedom House, 2016). Following the acquisition of major mainstream media conglomerate Doğan Media Group by pro-government Demirören Holding in 2018, almost 90 per cent of all media outlets are owned by pro-government businessmen at the time of writing. Turkey was the worst jailer in that year of professional journalists and persecution of civil society, academia, politicians and citizens—and ranked 159 in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index. This webinar aims to consider the changes in the country’s media structure since the rise of the AKP to power also by taking into account a previously neglected facet—new media—because it remains to be seen how communicative spaces are being affected by its development. It aims to track the transformation of the media system in all its aspects (mainstream, minority, alternative, native digital) in the last two decades through the trajectories of normative, communicative, participative and entrepreneurial citizenship practices.



Eylem Yanardağoğlu is Associate Professor and the Department Chair of the New Media Department at Kadir Has University in Istanbul. She received her PhD in Sociology at City, University of London in 2008 and completed her post-doctoral research Sabancı University in 2009. She had also taught at Bahçeşehir University (2009-2013) Communication Faculty. Having published extensively on the state of media in Turkey, her research interests include digital citizenship, digital journalism, digital platforms, international communication and transnational expansion of Turkish TV series. She also has a particular interest in Greek-Turkish media and have taught at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens MSc Program in Media and Refugee/Migration Flows in 2021 as a guest lecturer. Eylem was based as a visiting scholar at Panteion University, Department of Communication, Media and Culture in 2017 in Athens, and School of Media and Communication at University of Westminster in 2018 in London. She is a member of ESA (European Sociological Association) and IAMCR (International Association for Media and Communication Research). She also collaborates with global organizations such a Meta, BBC Academy, ICANN in organizing various seminars, roundtable and training sessions on digital journalism, media literacy and digital citizenship.


Bilge Yeşil is Associate Professor of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island. Yesil’s research interest is in global media and communication with a particular focus on Turkey and the Middle East, global internet policies, online surveillance and censorship. Her book, Media in New Turkey: The Origins of an Authoritarian Neoliberal State (University of Illinois Press, 2016) examines Turkey’s media system as the byproduct of the tensions between longstanding authoritarian state forms and the country’s experiences with globalization in the post-1980 era. “Highly recommended” by Choice, the book provides an engrossing look at the fault lines carved by authoritarianism, tradition, neoliberal reform, and globalization within Turkey’s increasingly far-reaching media.

Işın Eliçin is a journalist, currently an editor at Medyacope. Eliçin is a senior media professional from Turkey who has worked as an anchor, editor, columnist, journalist and executive across multiple platforms: television, radio, online, newspapers and magazines in print. She had previously worked for Turkey’s leading news TV channels CNN Turk and NTV as well as BBC World Service in London. She also lectured at Bilgi University in Istanbul for one year.

Marius Dragoumir is the Director of the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) at Central European University in Vienna. The CMDS is a leading center of research on media, communication, and information policy based in the School of Public Policy at Central European University, which produces scholarly and practice-oriented research addressing academic, policy and civil society needs. Marius Dragoumir has expertise in broadcast media and telecom regulation, governing structures of public service media, spectrum management, writing (analytical papers, multi-country comparative analyses;  newsletters, policy papers), research (statistics experience; data processing; drafting comparative overviews on political and economic developments and trends in media regulation and journalism), and experience in researching media and telecom markets, construction, retail, pharmaceuticals and financial markets.


Watch the discussion here.

Watch the 30-minute version with Greek subtitles here.