The Turkish media scene has witnessed many changes in the ownership of media assets in the last few years. Behind most of these sales or purchasings, the so-known TMSF was an active agent. Standing for „Savings Deposit Insurance Fund“, this government agency established under the banking law „insures savings deposits and participation funds in order to protect the rights of depositors“ and it „resolves the banks and assets transferred to it in the most proper way.“ In other words, when a bank goes bankrupt and is unable to repay the deposits to their owners, the state, through TMSF, steps in and pays the total amount under the insurance to the depositors. And in order to recollect this amount, it has the legal right to take over and control the company’s and its major partners’ assets, which it will try to liquidate at an optimum level.
Most of Turkish media groups, except the small percentage of the independent ones, are usually subsidiary companies of large conglomerates that do business in a wide range of sectors, such as energy, mining, construction – and banking. Once the bank goes bankrupt, the TMSF has the right and is legally obliged to seize the company’s assets, which are equivalent to the amount of the total payment it makes to the depositors.
Many media assets in Turkey have thus changed hands, some more than once, through TMSF, as a result of finance corporations’ debts to the state.