Turkey’s DoIan banned from state tenders amid dispute with ErdoIan

A major Turkish conglomerate has been suspended from state tenders, the government said on Wednesday, days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused its head of being a andquotcoup loverandquot and described columnists for its media arm as charlatans.
The government denied any link between the media dispute and the ban. But Erdogan has a history of conflict with Dogan Holding and its head Aydin Dogan.
Columnists in Doganand’s flagship newspaper Handurriyet have been critical of Erdoganand’s ambitions to create a more powerful presidency after June 7 polls he hopes will produce a big enough majority for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) he co-founded to change the constitution. Recent surveys suggest he may fall short.
Erdogan appears to have taken umbrage when, after former Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi was sentenced to death, Doganand’s flagship newspaper Handurriyet ran a headline reading: andquotelected with 52 percent of the votes and handed a death sentenceandquot.
Erdogan, who also won 52 percent in a presidential election last August, publicly suggested the headline was a reference to him and was meant to imply that he should share the same fate.
andquotI donand’t care what your columnists write. I donand’t care what your bankrolled charlatans write they mean nothing to me,andquot Erdogan said in television interview this week.
In an editorial published on Wednesday, Handurriyet denied any suggestion of a comparison between Morsi and Erdogan.
andquotThe alleged connection never passed through the minds of Handurriyetand’s editors.andquot
Dogan and its former fuel retailing unit, Petrol Ofisi, will not be able to bid in state tenders for the next 237 days, according to an order from the energy ministry published in the governmentand’s official gazette.
h2h2 h2Corruption investigationh2
Dogan and Petrol Ofisi were handed a one-year ban in 2009 over quality issues in a supply deal with a state power plant. They served part of that before the penalty was overturned by a court.
Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the decision to reinstate the penalty was not related to the recent media dispute.
andquotThis ruling is a decision that has nothing to do with the current conjuncture and debates,andquot he told reporters in Ankara.
In 2009, Dogan was handed a large tax penalty after a tax inspection that followed its close coverage of corruption allegations against figures close to Erdogan.
Erdogan said the corruption investigations were concocted by a former ally turned political enemy who was seeking to engineer a coup against him. He has since purged the police force and judiciary and the investigations have been dropped.
Company founder Aydin Dogan was forced after the tax demand to sell the groupand’s Milliyet and Vatan newspapers, the Star TV channel and shares in Petrol Ofisi.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman