In 1999, he was awarded Turkey's Outstanding Service Medal by the Turkish Government. He received four honorary doctorates in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005 respectively from Girne American University, Ege University, Baku State University and Marmara University.
Born in 1936 as a member of a well-known family in Kelkit. Doğan went to elementary and secondary school in Kelkit and finished high-school in Erzincan. Between 1956-60, he attended Istanbul Economy and Commerce Academy (later to become Marmara University). There, he became the Student Community Leader.
Out of a small company with just three employees in 1961, he created one of Turkey's top conglomerates with over 13,000 direct employees and an additional 12,000 employment through companies servicing the businesses of Doğan Holding.
Doğan founded his first industrial company in 1974 and joined both the Assembly and the Administrative Board of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce. In the years that followed, he served as a board member in the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey.
After 1977 until 2009, Aydın Doğan personally has been the top taxpayer registered with the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, either in Istanbul or in overall Turkey. He always equated patriotism with proper declaration and prompt payment of taxes.
Doğan Holding became a publisher with the acquisition of the daily newspaper Milliyet in 1979. With the addition of the prestigious daily newspaper Hurriyet in 1994, he intensified his presence in the media. Between 1986 and 1996, he served as the head of the Association of Turkish Newspaper Publishers. In 2004, Doğan became the first elected Turkish Deputy Chairperson of World Association of Newspapers (WAN).
He established his Aydın Doğan Foundation in 1996, bringing social, cultural, educational activities of Doğan Holding under the same umbrella. To date, eight schools and a large Sports complex have been built and named after himself and other family members. While mainly focusing on education, the foundation is also involved in organizing national and international conferences, conventions and seminars on economic, social, cultural and scientific issues.
He retired as head of Doğan Holding in January 1, 2010, handing over his post to his daughter, Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ, who was chairperson of the TV channel Kanal D and who also serves as head of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD), an association for Business People in Turkey. Currently Begümhan Doğan Faralyalı is the Chairwoman of Doğan Holding. Aydın Doğan continues to be the honorary President of the holding firm.
Doğan Holding held negotiations with the Ministry of Finance in line with the existing legislation. An agreement was concluded and in October 2012, Doğan paid the remainder of the agreed fine earlier than scheduled and thus resolved the tax issue completely.