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In Erdogan’s Turkey, dissent might be poor for enterprise

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* Chairman of retailer Boyner publicly defied Erdogan

* Firm ordered to raise fresh capital

* ‘Revenge politics’ could enhance in Turkey -analyst

* Erdogan foes no stranger to government crackdown

By Asli Kandemir

ISTANBUL, Dec 1 The head of a single of Turkey’s biggest retailers, after consigned by Tayyip Erdogan to the ranks of “riff-raff”, might be forgiven for obtaining sensed the hand of the president lately when Istanbul Stock exchange raised alarm with a terse warning to his business.

Cem Boyner’s department shop organization joined a list of firms that have faced legal or regulatory stress soon after falling out with Erdogan or the ruling AK Party he founded. Investors are increasingly worried that in Turkey, dissent is poor for enterprise.

“At danger are organizations that are perceived to be close to opposition forces, or firms whose bosses’ public remarks may possibly have antagonised the government,” mentioned Wolfango Piccoli, managing director of Teneo Intelligence.

Erdogan has raised concern at property and in the European Union Turkey seeks to join, with his open conflict with media firms and company heads. The president, still the most popular leader in decades, says he is fighting domestic and foreign attempts to slur him with graft accusations and undermine the country.

This year, the government has seized the assets of Islamic lender Bank Asya, which was founded by followers of U.S.-primarily based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, an ally-turned-foe Erdogan accuses of attempting to engineer a coup against him.

In October authorities took over 22 firms owned by unlisted Koza Ipek Holding, including its opposition media outlets. Like Bank Asya, Koza Ipek has links to Gulen.

“It is a distinct possibility that there are further episodes of these ‘revenge politics’ ahead,” Piccoli said.

The pro-government Sabah every day described a regulatory order against Boyner as “a warning to the riff-raff Boyner from the stock exchange”. The term echoed Erdogan’s characterisation of thousands, Boyner integrated, who protested in 2013 against what they saw as his increasingly authoritarian rule.

The Boyner Holding Chairman, who once himself nurtured political ambitions, carried a banner taunting Erdogan with the words “I am neither a rightist nor a leftist, I am riff-raff”.

The stock exchange warned Boyner on Nov. 17 to shore up its balance sheet, citing a current 82 percent slide in its capital. It didn’t specify an amount for the increase.

But Boyner had already applied to delist, raising queries as to why the exchange was even bothering to single it out.

“They may possibly not even be traded by the time they would raise any extra capital,” said a single analyst, who declined to be identified. Only about 3 % of Boyner’s shares are traded on the stock exchange and it is due to be delisted by the finish of the year.

The drop in capital was largely due to accounting procedures connected to acquisition of another retailer, the analyst mentioned.

INVESTORS CONCERNED

Nonetheless, investors have been concerned.

“I could not count how a lot of worried investors called to ask what was behind the order to Boyner,” mentioned a prime executive of a brokerage. “This is a highly politicised and definitely not an investor-friendly climate.”

Government officials declined to comment, as did Boyner, whose organizations consist of the Boyner department shops chain and Beymen garments shops.

An Istanbul Stock Exchange official told Reuters the exchange produced such warnings to all organizations, in line with listing regulations.

In one particular of the ideal known clashes in between Erdogan and a media physique, Dogan Media Group was fined $ 2.5 billion for unpaid taxes in 2009. Numerous critics saw the move as an attempt to crush criticism following its coverage of corruption allegations against people close to him some thing Erdogan denied.

Prosecutors started investigating Dogan in September for alleged “terrorism propaganda”. Opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, whose leading two journalists have been arrested final week on charges of espionage and terrorist propaganda, also faces an investigation into its tax accounts, its chief executive says

Contrasting fortunes of companies mirror a broader shift in Turkish commerce in the years since AKP came to power in 2002.

Older conglomerates that dominated commerce in pre-Erdogan instances have discovered themselves sidelined. Ankara cancelled a $ 5.7 billion bridges and runway privatisation won by a consortium which includes Koc Holding in 2013. The government also cancelled a warship production tender awarded to a Koc business.

If these who cross Erdogan can anticipate small sympathy, then a new generation of enterprises has found favour.

Constructing and power firms close to Erdogan have prospered, such as Calik Holding, run until the end of 2013 by Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, now Turkey’s power minister.

Turkuvaz Group, owned by Calik Holding, now runs the pro-government Sabah newspaper, whilst the Demiroren group owns Vatan and Milliyet dailies. Ethem Sancak, who runs the pro-government Aksam every day, not too long ago won a lot of tenders from the government, like for his truck and bus producer BMC.

Dogan Holding CEO Yahya Uzdiyen sees tough occasions ahead.

“Our energy has substantially been drained due to the fact of the social and psychological stress in our media company as effectively as worldwide economic problems,” he said not too long ago. (Added reporting by Ceyda Caglayan and Birsen Altayli in Istanbul and Orhan Coskun in Ankara Editing by David Dolan and Ralph Boulton)

Agen Sabung Ayam – Philip Morris: we are defending our enterprise, not attacking human rights | Letters

Agen Sabung Ayam

Marc Firestone of Philip Morris International responds to issues about the tobacco firm’s legal action in Uruguay. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Despite emphasising the role of the United Nations in sustaining justice and respect for obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law, Alfred de Zayas (How can Philip Morris sue Uruguay over its tobacco laws?, 16 November) fails to add that the UN defines the rule of law as a principle of accountability and equality for “all persons, institutions and entities, public and private … constant with international human rights, norms and standards”.

There is no inherent tension in defending basic rights of the private sector although defending human rights. There is practically nothing that threatens the globe order of justice as feared by the author. By contrast, what would be “devastating” to public order is if fairness and equal justice have been applied selectively. To paraphrase Orwell, the result would imply that all are equal, but some are more equal than other people.

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism is not “little known” or “buried” in trade agreements. Investment protection is an act of sovereignty that results from negotiations between states. Missing from the author’s account of our arbitration with Uruguay is that the Uruguayan senate approved the investment treaty with Switzerland soon after careful scrutiny, and with confidence that its provisions aligned with Uruguay’s domestic law.

The implication that our case has “chilled” governments from enacting tobacco manage guidelines is erroneous. Uruguay itself has banned the show of tobacco goods at retail points of sale, and several other tobacco policy measures have been implemented around the world given that we brought our claim in Uruguay in 2010.

A reminder to calm the rhetoric: PMI has brought only two ISDS situations among over 600 reported instances, and we did not bring them lightly. The Uruguayan government knows that we choose amicable resolutions to litigation and that we remain obtainable for constructive discussion with authorities in Uruguay and elsewhere.

Nations have executed much more than 3,000 investment protection agreements. This reinforces the bedrock principle of international law that investors are entitled to fair and equitable therapy. Governments that respect the rule of law have absolutely nothing to worry from the possibility of independent, objective evaluation of regulatory measures.
Marc Firestone
Senior vice-president and common counsel, Philip Morris International

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