During World War II (1939–1945) many newspapers were ordered shut, including the dailies Cumhuriyet (5 times, for 5 months and 9 days), Tan (7 times, for 2 months and 13 days), and Vatan (9 times, for 7 months and 24 days).
When the Democratic Party under Adnan Menderes came to power in 1950, censorship entered a new phase.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP) party, said 64 journalists have been imprisoned and “We are now facing a new period where the media is controlled by the government and the police and where most media bosses take orders from political authorities.” The government says most of the imprisoned journalists have been detained for serious crimes, like membership in an armed terrorist group, that are not related to journalism.
Bianet's periodical reports on freedom of the press in Turkey published in October 2015 recorded a strengthening of attacks on the opposition media during the AKP interim government in the third quarter of 2015.
On the date of Bianet's publication, 61 people, of whom 37 journalists, were convict, defendant or suspect for having insulted or personally attacked the then-PM, now-President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Freedom of speech was heavily restricted after the 1980 military coup headed by General Kenan Evren.
The BBC noted that while some outlets are aligned with the AKP or are personally close to Erdoğan, "most mainstream media outlets – such as TV news channels Haber Turk and NTV, and the major centrist daily Milliyet – are loath to irritate the government because their owners' business interests at times rely on government support.
All of these have tended to steer clear of covering the demonstrations." Turkey’s Journalists Union estimated that at least "72 journalists had been fired or forced to take leave or had resigned in the past six weeks since the start of the unrest" in late May 2013 due to pressure from the AKP government.
By some accounts, Turkey currently accounts for one-third of all journalists imprisoned around the world.
Bianet's final 2015 monitoring report confirmed this trend and underlined that once regained majority after the AKP interim government period, the Turkish government further intensified its pressure on the country's media.