Former İstanbul mayor from ruling AKP paid millions to pro-gov’t media: report

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Under Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule, the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) transferred nearly TL 57 million ($9.58 million) to pro-Turkish-government media outlets between 2017 and 2019, the Yeniçağ daily reported.

The funds paid for advertising deals between the municipality and the media companies, the report indicated, adding that there were also further payments in the form of sponsorships.

The largest advertising payment of more than TL15 million in this period was made to the Turkuvaz Media Group, which is controlled by Serhat Albayrak, a brother of Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

It is followed by the Albayrak media group, which owns the Yeni Şafak daily and the TVNET television network, with nearly TL 9 million.

Turkey’s largest media group, Demirören Media, only received some TL 700,000 in advertising revenue from the İBB in the two-year period.

In an election re-run for the İstanbul mayoral office in June, the Turkish opposition’s Ekrem İmamoğlu became the new mayor of the country’s largest city, ending the 25-year rule of Islamist/conservative parties.

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