Official ideology: Turkey is the only European State to have, written into its Constitution, an official ideology. This is based on: "the concept of nationalism and the principles and reforms brought about by Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic, immortal guide and incomparable hero".
According to the Preamble to the Constitution "no opinion or thought can expect to receive any protection as against Turkish National interests, the principle of the indivisibility of the Turkish national entity, its State and its territory, the historical and spiritual values, inherent in the Turkish people or the nationalism, principles reforms and modernism of Ataturk".
On the Official State Ideology's Service
Foreigners passing through Turkey or observers critical of certain political aspects of the country, are often shocked by the ultra-nationalist and militarist content of the principle Turkish media and the virulence of the press campaigns they orchestrate. At the same time they notice that certain media don't hesitate to criticise on or other of the Ministers or even the Prime Minister. To understand the Turkish system one must bear in mind that, apart from some publications of the Left or islamic opposition, the principle Turkish media are at the disposal of the State and its official nationalist ideology (Ataturkism).
The political police (MIT) and the General Staff, who have a whole network of influential "honourable correspondents" constantly keep watch over what they consider "the superior interests of the State" and launch orchestrated press campaigns against "the internal and external enemies of the country". Amongst the more famous victims of their campaigns: Nelson Mandela, "guilty" of having refused an Ataturk Peace Prize, which seemed to him rather out of place in a country that was martyrising its Kurdish population; Mrs Mitterrand, Senator Kennedy, the German Social-Democratic Party leader R. Scharping etc... Their network covering the media is sufficiently subtle to allow each paper to have some liberal editorial writers who criticise official policy from the standpoint of another idea of "patriotism". Those who cross the thin red line(criticism of Ataturk or of nationalism, defense of the Kurds) are promptly sacked, like Koray Düzgören from Hurriyet, Ahmet Altan from Milliyet or Ismet Imset of the Turkish Daily News — often following a simple phone call from an official of the Joint Forces General Staff.
Concentration of ownership also helps ensure a more efficient control of the media. Two groups share the bulk of the market. The Dogan Group, with the two mass circulation dailies Hurriyet and Milliyet, each of which has its own television network, and the Ding Group whose main standard bearers are the two dailies Sabah and Yeni Yuzyil as well as the ATV television network. The industrialists who control these two groups also have large interests in sectors which depend heavily on State and Army contracts. The General Staff, also regularly calls the Managing Directors of the newspapers and television stations for "briefings" in which they are told how to treat matters affecting national interests and defense. It is, for example, "inadvisable" to publish anything on "events in the South-East" (Kurdistan) apart from official Army communiques.
Finally, by a very generous policy of subsidies and loans on advantageous terms, the Government has been able to ensure the support of these media and their huge audience. The police and the courts can be left to stifle the few dissident voices, like the pro-Kurdish Ozgur Grundem, which was banned after the assassination of ten of its journalists and the blowing up of its premises by the police.
Despite the diversity of papers, publications, radios and televisions, those that really form public opinion are, with a few rare exceptions at the disposal of the State, its security organs and its official ideology. The "organs" only have to whistle and this powerful brain-washing machine gets under way to denigrate or vilify any opponent judged too iconoclastic, or to present as an enemy of the Turkish nation any foreign personality who dares to criticise excess of the Turkish Army or Courts or express a wish for an improvement in the fate of the Kurds in Turkey.
Sources:The main difference is that in the present those who are against the AKP regime are complained against over the phone, fined, jailed, taken to court and otherwise silenced by the AKP regime, and not the militarists of the Turkish General Staff as in the past.
[1.]The International Committee for the Liberation of the Kurdish Parliamentarians Imprisoned in Turkey(CILOEKT). Which Turkey for Which Europe(PDF). (December 1995) p. 8.
[2.] Ibid., p. 10.