Subsequent to the establishment of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 23 April 1920, one of the first national institutions set up by the then-newly formed Turkish State was the Directorate General of Press and Information. Founded on 7 June 1920 by Atatürk's instructions, the Directorate was at the time simultaneously affiliated with the TGNA and Council of Ministers.

Atatürk wrote in the preamble to the law establishing the DGPI: "Ignoring to establish an organisation of politics and ideas for a considerable period of time, which is as powerful as weaponry in defending our national interests, has caused many acts of malice. There is not a singular European state that has not set up an as-large-as-possible organisation with this objective in mind. On the one hand we need to bring out publications with an aim to defend our national and legitimate cause and to constantly scrutinize the foreign press to understand the flow of ideas, while on the other hand we need to bring out publications within the nation to produce a union of ideas and spirits as the modern time dictates."

The Directorate, which acquired different names under several ministries in the decades after its establishment, attained its own organisational structure with its current name and functions by a decree with the power of law in 1984. Duties of the DGPI include: (a) to contribute to the promotion policy of the state and to the strategies implemented by the government on this matter; (b) to provide accurate and timely information to the public and relevant state authorities; (c) to ensure government activities and services are effectively conveyed to the national and international public; (d) to maintain and organise relations with the domestic and foreign media and take effective measures to facilitate their working conditions and activities.

DGPI has 17 provincial and 39 international offices.