Gov’t launches probes against conservative business group

Gov’t launches probes against conservative business group

Sefer Levent ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
The Finance Ministry has launched tax inspections into three companies owned by Boydak Holding, which is one of Turkey’s biggest conglomerates with conservative roots.

“I believe these probes are routine. Our companies were investigated before,” said the deputy chairman of the holding, Mustafa Boydak.

“We’re doing business in accordance with the regulations. Any unlawful act was detected during previous probes, having made us very glad,” he said.

These latest probes against the group have raised some questions in economy circles as Mustafa Boydak called on the government last July not to separate businesses based on political ideas and said the country should protect the companies “carrying Turkey.”

His comments were then perceived as support for the country’s largest business group, Koç Holding, which has been hit by several official probes after being criticized for its stance in the recent anti-government protests.

“The government shouldn’t take sides in its issues with the business realm, and we shouldn’t relive the 1990s as some circles have been claiming. You all will remember the Feb. 28 process,” said Boydak, deputy chairman of Boydak Holding, speaking at the July meeting of the Kayseri Chamber of Industry, which he chairs.

The “Feb. 28 process,” also known as the “post-modern coup,” refers to an army-led secularist campaign which forced the late Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan to step down in June 1997.

Many companies affiliated with the Erbakan government and his political views were hit with harsh sanctions at that time, upon the military’s pressure.

“A misperception of some groups and companies appeared then [during the Feb. 28 process]. We shouldn’t apply the exact opposite of that misperception today,” Boydak said, calling on both the government and businesspeople not to engage in political disputes. “Let’s not make segregations like ‘you’re my enemy, you’re not’ in the business world. We can overcome the economy-related problems somehow, you shall not doubt that,” he then said.

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız then criticized him for his comments.

“It is not possible to understand the comments of a chamber of industry head on [the latest] tax and technical probes against [Koç Holding’s] Tüpraş. Hundreds of routine tax probes are made in a year.

We do not accept the comments referring to Feb. 28. There are no on-purpose probes against any business group,” Yıldız said.