CNN Turk suffers in Turkish squeeze


Turkey is suffering a major downturn in its media sector. On the newsprint side, advertising is down and the cost of newsprint is up. CNN Turk (left), owned by Dogan in a joint-venture with Turner Broadcasting, has had to lay off staff. It isn’t alone.

Several media groups, including the Dogan, Turkuvaz, Çukurova and Ciner media groups, have resorted so far to various methods in their battle against the destructive impact of the financial turmoil, which has worsened as the Turkish Lira continues to lose value against foreign currency.

For example, the Çukurova Group has dismissed more than 400 employees in the last few months in an attempt to deal with the negative effects of the economic crisis, according to Zaman newspaper. The staff members dismissed were mainly employed by the Aksam, Günes and Tercüman dailies, Türk Medya magazine and the Sky Türk television station, all of which belong to the group. Although Aksam's newly appointed Editor-in-Chief Ismail Küçükkaya recently stated that layoffs would be a last resort, the initial signs are not promising, with employees at the daily worrying about what will happen next.

The Jan 11 edition of Zaman says that the Dogan Media Group is also trying to ease the impact of the turmoil through mass layoffs. Rumors are circulating that the group plans to dismiss 20% of its staff at the Hürriyet daily. The daily previously stopped the printing and distribution of its Friday supplement in a move to protect itself from the growing impact of the financial crisis. The Dogan Group has also dismissed many of its staff at CNN Türk.

“Television stations NTV, of the Dogus Group, and ATV, Sabah and Takvim, of the Turkuvaz Media Group, are facing a similar fate as CNN Türk. The Turkuvaz Media Group is known to have sacked more than 50 workers so far,” says the report.

“The most drastic reaction to the financial crisis came from the Ciner Group, which has suspended some of its long-awaited projects and begun to prepare for some more unexpected ones. While many were waiting for the group to launch a new daily under the name of Habertürk, the group chose to dismiss many employees from the Habertürk and Kanal 1 TV stations. It is said that the group has given the cold shoulder to experienced journalists and columnists that it has been attempting to get to work for the group for a long time. On the other hand, the group recently launched a new weekly magazine, a Turkish-language version of Newsweek,” says Zaman.