Measurements have been made in nominally two-dimensional turbulent wakes generated by five different bluff bodies. Each wake has a different level of large-scale organization which is reflected in different amounts of large-scale anisotropy. Structure functions of streamwise (u) and lateral (v) velocity fluctuations at approximately the same value of R[lambda], the Taylor microscale Reynolds number, indicate that inertial-range scales are significantly affected by the large-scale anisotropy. The effect is greater on v than u and more pronounced for the porous-body wakes than the solid-body wakes. In particular, ‘relative’ values of the scaling (or power-law) exponents indicate that the magnitude of the transverse exponents can exceed that of the longitudinal ones in the porous-body wakes. This is supported by the inertial-range behaviour of the spectra of u and v. The difference between the transverse and longitudinal exponents appears to depend on the large-scale anisotropy of the flow, as measured by the ratio of the variances of v and u and ratio of the integral length scales of v and u. The spanwise vorticity spectra are much less affected by the anisotropy than the spectra of u and v.