The leaked emails of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Turkey’s Minister of Energy Berat Albayrak continue to reveal a close connection between the staunchly pro-government media and the first family.
In a series of messages in the large inbox of Albayrak, which was first obtained by a Turkish hacker group and then published by Wikileaks in December, a Sabah reporter named Yahya Bostan informs Albayrak’s brother, Serhat, who manages the Turkuaz Media company, about his colleagues after carefully profiling them.
In addition to detailed profiling of coworkers in Ankara, Bostan asks Serhat Albayrak if he would like any “private information” on Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, who used to be a critic of President Erdoğan.
In a message dated Feb. 11, 2011, Bostan writes that he shares an apartment with the media advisor of current Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Numan Kurtulmuş’s advisor. “I could let you know if there is any private information you would like to have about Numan Kurtulmuş,” Bostan writes to Serhat Albayrak. He promises to inform him as he learns more about Kurtulmuş. Serhat Albayrak then forwarded these emails to Erdoğan’s son-in-law.
Bostan apparently shared information about colleagues at Sabah such as Okan Müderrisoğlu and Mutlu Çölgeçen. In the following years, Bostan was promoted first to the position of Ankara representative and then managing editor of the daily.
Bostan informed Serhat Albayrak not only about colleagues, but also bureaucrats. In reference to an appointment with a bureaucrat, Bostan says he would tell Serhat Albayrak about the meeting once it was over.
Profiling B.A. from the Habertürk daily in an email dated Aug. 9, 2011, Bostan says B.A. has no sense of morality or honesty and should not be considered for a press advisor position for then-Minister Hayati Yazıcı.
Bostan also informed on the political leanings of fellow journalists. In reference to a reporter with the initials H.A., Bostan says that because her sources are close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), her reports could be problematic.
Categorizing prospective reporters according to their ideology in a message dated Aug. 12, 2011, Bostan labels candidates as part of “our basket” if they have an Islamist background.