Pro-Erdogan Turkish-Dutch media funded with Dutch subsidies: report

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Downloaded on 23 March 2013: (pterjan/flickr)

Dutch-Turkish media groups that support Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan were supported for years with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Het Parool reports based on its own research. The Stimulation Fund for Journalism paid these media groups hundreds of thousands of euros in subsidies. Most of this money could not be recovered because the companies behind the media groups went bankrupt. 

According to the Fund, the majority of the companies went bankrupt because they "devoted little attention to the business side of their business."

One such news agency is Sonhaber, which means 'latest news'. The agency received 115 thousand euros from the Fund in 2009. Despite the subsidy, the company accumalted a lot of debt and went bankrupt as a result. It then made a restart with the same people, according to Het Parool. On Saturday Sonhaber called on its website and on social media for people to go demonstrate at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam. 

Foundation Anadolu, the company behind Turkish-Dutch media Dogus, was given 218 thousand euros, of which 156 thousand euros was paid by the Fund. Newspaper Ekin received nearly 184 thousand in 2005 and 2010 and newspaper Kuzey Yildizi received 178 thousand in 2007. Zaman, which is affiliated with the Gulen movement instead of Erdogan, received over 160 thousand euros in 2007.

Rene van Zanten, director of the Fund, agrees that the projects did not go well. He told Het Parool that the intention was for more immigrants to read about the Netherlands. The special regulation was stopped in 2010. He stressed that the Fund now keeps a sharper eye on projects - the selection process is now much stricter and there is continuous supervision.

The Stimulation Fund for Journalism is funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, but makes its own decisions.