Authenticity Of Erdogan Reform Package Questioned After Ankara Goes After Koc Holding (Kchol) For Sheltering Anti-Government Protesters

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Turkey's PM Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey's PM Tayyip Erdogan

Although Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's package of reforms aims to promote a more liberal and democratic Turkey, a series of legal and administrative actions against one of Turkey’s biggest companies, which sheltered protesters in June, raises questions about the authenticity of  the reform package.

Koc Holding AS (IST:Kchol), which accounts for 9 percent of Turkey’s gross domestic product, is accused by Erdogan of aiding "criminals" by letting them take shelter in its Divan Hotel, the Christian Science Monitor reported Monday. In response the government has canceled contracts with one of Koc’s firms to build warships, as well as threatening the company with an eviction order over disputed rent.

"Those who clashed with police went there. Its owners provided them with hospitality," Erdogan said in June. "You know it is against the law to harbor criminals."

Just last month a lawyer filed a criminal complaint calling for an investigation into Koc's possible role in the overthrow of Turkey’s first Islamist government in 1997.

Both the company and government denied that the measures taken were politically motivated, but analysts say the moves hurt Turkey’s business image, especially at a time when the country needs foreign direct investment.

Recently, PKF hotelexperts, a Munich-based international hotel consultant group, awarded Divan Hotel its Hospitality Innovation Award for displaying “civil solidary, courage and hospitality in crisis situations.” 

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