Erdogan VS. Koç Holding: Turkey’s New Witch Hunt
Svante E. Cornell
Following the Taksim square protests, Prime Minister Erdogan has instigated a witch hunt targeting the country’s largest industrial conglomerate, the Koç Group. Since the Koç Group-owned Divan hotel allowed a crowd fleeing tear gas fired by the police to take refuge in the hotel, the conglomerate has seen an unprecedented army of financial inspectors descend on its companies in the energy sector, saw the cancellation of a tender to construct warships for the Turkish navy, and had a lawsuit filed against for abetting the military intervention in 1997. This attack on a group responsible for a tenth of Turkey’s GDP is not only further evidence of Erdogan’s authoritarianism, but also dangerous for Turkey’s economic development. Coming at a time of uncertainty over the economic prospects of large emerging markets like Turkey, punitive action against the Koç Group would be taken very seriously by international markets.