Turkey has been undergoing a transition in governance over decades, most recently in the sociopolitical transformation from Kemalist laicism to Islamic-dominated politics. The shifts have been uneven, with government frequently overtaken by military control, and then returned to some form of democratic functioning, with associated changes in the laws reflecting greater or lesser tolerance for multi-party politics, public religious practice, and EU-inspired civic liberties. Throughout, the experience has engaged a tension between Western influences and Islamic norms as interpreted through processes of modernization and economic liberalization. The media’s role as a conveyor of cultural imaginaries and national identities has led it to play an important part in this trajectory. Yet, although its autonomy has varied depending on those in power—at times being a tool entirely controlled by government, at others operating with few fetters—the laws and regulations surrounding the media have varied much less, suggesting the legal structure defining Turkish media reflects in general terms the public’s view of its position and role in society. This is despite the fact that the media laws in Turkey have not been holistically forged, nor rigorously updated to accommodate technological change. What is suggested here is that the media’s status as a strategic circulator of ideas within social relations and as an ideological bellwether of public values, has been translated into the legal corpus, creating a uniquely Turkish interpretation of the media’s agency, and instrumentality, which we suggest is made comprehensible through Values and Status Negotiation Theory (VSN).