About the Association of Journalists

The Association of Journalists was founded on 10 January 1946 by journalists Mekki Sait Esen, Niyazi Acun, Aka Gündüz, Bilal Akba, Adil Akba, Sebahattin Sönmez and Muvaffak Menemencioğlu. The founding purpose of the association was to unite journalists in different press organs under one roof, improve professional and social rights, and to safeguard the rights and freedoms of journalism which are imperative for the profession.

Assuming the position of founding chairman, Mekki Sait Esen headed the Journalists’ Association between 1946 and 1956, he was succeeded by ex senator Ecvet Güresin between 1956-1957.

Founder and owner of Kudret Newspaper, Gazanfer Kurt headed the association until 1959, then Atilla Bartınlıoğlu took over until 1960. Former CHP member of parliament Altan Öymen was chairman of the association between 1960 and 1961, who was succeeded by İbrahim Cüceoğlu in 1961. Metin Toker became chairman of the Association of Journalists in 1962 after having served a 7 month and 53 day prison sentence in 1957.

Founding owner of Ekspress Newspaper, Doğan Kasaroğlu took over as chairman in 1963 until 1968, he was later appointed as general manager of TRT.

Beyhan Cenkçi, who worked in positions such as general editor, writer, editor-in-chief and executive editor for Yenigün, Ulus, Ankara Telgraf, Ankara Ekspres and Dünya newspapers, served as chairman for the association for five years during this period. Cenkçi, who received a one and a half year prison sentence along with some of his colleagues, was elected as chairman of the Association of Journalists in 1969.  He continued serving as chairman of the Association of Journalists until 1992. Cenkçi also served as senator in the Senate of the Republic, during his 24 years in the association.

Starting his professional career in 1971 in Son Havadis newspaper, Nazmi Bilgin worked as chief-in-editor and was the owner of Güneş Gazetesi newspaper, he later served as news director at Dünya Gazetesi newspaper. Bilgin also worked as the parliament and Presidency correspondent for Tercüman Newspaper. After having taken part in the founding of TRT-2, he worked as “Senior Correspondent” and “General Manager Consultant” in TRT for five years. Bilgin served as Vice Chairman and Secretary General for 14 years for the Association of Journalists, and was elected as Chairman unanimously in 1992. Bilgin, who founded the Federation of Journalists in Turkey in 1996, served as its chariman until 2009.

Having served as Ankara Correspondent for BRT Television, Bilgin produced and presented “Zirve” broadcasted on this channel, and also produced and presented “Politika Kulvarı” aired on TRT-1. Bilgin, who is a member and supervisor in the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO, continues to serve as a member of the board of directors for the Press Advertisement Agency, and is a member of the board of trustees, board of directors, and board of advertisement of the Turkish Armed Forces “Elele Foundation”.

The same age as Turkey’s transition to a multi party system, or in other words its transition to a pluralist democracy, our association started its journey with a handful of journalists; today it has more than 2000 members, financial independence and it has become one of Turkey’s oldest, biggest and most respected professional and non-governmental organizations.

Our association has relentlessly stood by its country, and has vigilantly defended the republic, its pluralist democracy, the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press since its inception seventy years. The Association of Journalists has taken its rightful place among professional and other noteworthy organizations of our country thanks to the reassurance it has provided.

Press Card Commission 

Press Advertisement Agency

“Yellow Press Cards” are given to journalists after they spend a sufficient amount of time in the profession, these press cards are indispensable for journalists.

A commission grants the“Press-Card” after carefully assessing journalists who have completed a set amount of time, in terms of professional integrity, adhering to the ethics and standards of journalism and not having had any other occupation other than journalism; it is represented by chairman of the Association of Journalists Nazmi Bilgin in the Press Advertisement Agency. After 18 years of continuous membership of the administrative board of the Press Advertisement Agency, our Association continues to be a member of the General Board. Bilgin, Chairman of the Association of Journalists, was elected as president of the Press Card Commission for another term.

The Federation of Journalists in Turkey 

The Confederation of Journalists in Turkey

Our Association was able to unite 75 different journalists’ associations in Turkey through its hard work, and thanks to its moral and financial support it was instrumental in establishing the Federation of Journalists in Turkey. Nazmi Bilgin served as president of the federation for 12 years consecutively. Our association is also a member of the Confederation of Journalists in Turkey that was founded later on. Bilgin continues to serve as Honorary President for the confederation.

Turkish Armed Forces Elele Foundation

The Association of Journalists realized one of the most comprehensive and meaningful social awareness campaigns “Haydi Türkiye, Mehmetçikle Elele” (Come on Turkey, Join Hands with our Troops) thanks to the incredible awareness and trust of the public, our Association was able to raise 65 million dollars for the “Mehmetçik Foundation”. “Turkish Armed Forces Elele Foundation” which was headed by then Chief of Staff İsmail Hakkı Karadayı, showed its appreciation by inviting our association- which was the only civilian institution accepted The Foundation, in which we were represented by Nazmi Bilgin, established “the TAF Rehabilitation and Care Centre” for our veterans The centre was put into service in 1999, it is considered a “Monument of Gratitude” to the martyrs and veterans of the Turkish nation.

Board of Directors



Born in Erzurum in 1950, Bilgin started his journalism career in Son Havadis Newspaper in 1971. He was awarded “Journalist of the Year” for 6 years by various news agencies. Bilgin served as Vice Chairman and Secretary General for 14 years for the Association of Journalists, and was elected as Chairman unanimously in 1992. He has been serving as chairman since 1992.

Deputy Chairman

After having managed The Voice of Turkey radio station for many years, Kıratlı served as news director, deputy chairman and chairman TRT Newsroom and External Services Department. Kıratlı retired in 1996 as chairman for TRT External Services Department.

Vice Chairman

Born in 1944 Erzurum, Yöndem started his career as a cameraman for TRT in 1971. Having worked as a producer for many programmes, Ertürk is also Turkey’s first official war correspondent.

Vice Chairman

Born in 1960 Ankara, Aydemir started his journalism career in 1981 as an intern in Hürriyet Newspaper. He stayed there for 5 years. Aydemir has been working for Milliyet newspaper Since. Aydemir continues to work as Milliyet Ankara Newspaper’s news coordinator, and serves as vice chairman at the Association of Journalists.

Vice Chairman

Kanlı was born in Cyprus, 1959. He started his journalism career in 1978 in Turkish Daily News, he also worked for Anatolian Agency. Kanlı returned to Daily News in 1995, and after serving in various positions, he continues to work as a columnist.

Secretary General

Born in Istanbul, 1943. Gürtuna started his journalism career in 1961. He entered politics in 1978 and became CHP’s provincial chairman for Ankara. Gürtüna teaches journalism in Ankara University’s Faculty of Communication, he has worked for many media institutions.

Mustafa YOLDAŞ
Financial Secretary

Yoldaş was born in Elazığ, 1946. He began his career in 1965 in TRT. He was one of the founding members of the Antalya Journalists’ Association. He served as chairman for two terms at the association.


Soysal was born in Ankara, 1945. He started his journalism career in 1961 in the archive of Büyük Zafer newspaper. Shortly after, he became a sports correspondent. He worked in many Ankara news agencies’ sports departments. Soysal retired in 1993.


Şimşek was born in Hatay, 1962. He started his career in journalism in 1988 at the Anatolian Agency. He was a war correspondent in Iraq in 1991. He served as Anatolian Agency’s Cairo correspondent between 1992 and 1994. He worked as an assistant manager for Anatolian Agency’s Foreign News department until 2011.


Oruç was born in 1963, Kırıkkale. Oruç started his career in 1986 in TRT, he later worked in TRT News Panning Coordination Department as assistant manager, specialist at TRT Strategy Department and as a correspondent at TRT Avaz.


Önder Yılmaz was born in Kars, 1972. He started his journalism career in 1992 in Milliyet Newspaper. He has worked as a correspondent for the Prime Minister, as a chief-in-editor and is currently working for Milliyet Newspaper as its parliamentary chief clerk.


Sürekök was born in Ankara, 1959. He started his journalism career in 1976 working for Tasvir Newspaper. He later worked for İpekyolu Magazine, and Son Söz Newspaper. Sörenkök, who speaks English, is the owner of Zafer Newspaper and is a member of the Journalists’ Association.

Olgunay KÖSE

Köse was born in Ordu, 1965. He began his journalism career in ANKA news agency between 1989-1990. He has worked as political party correspondent, Presidential correspondent and also as parliamentary correspondent. He began to work for TRT as a correspondent in 1997 and has held various positions ever since.

Nursun EREL

Nursun Erel started her professional career in the Anatolian Agency, she later worked for Tercüman Newspaper for many years… In her journalism career that spans 30 years she has worked as a political correspondent, foreign policy correspondent, editor, and representative; she has also conducted many interviews and has written as a columnist… She also briefly worked as a consultant for Adnan Kahveci and Tansu Çiller…