November 19, 2015

Kaynak raid places property rights under threat, politicians warn

A recent court decision to appoint administrative trustees to the board of Kaynak Holding and its 23 subsidiaries continues to draw reactions from politicians, who all point to growing concerns over the protection of property rights in Turkey.

“This was literally aimed at bankrupting commercial entities or, more precisely, intimidating all companies that are seen dissenting to political authority. All these operations dent the rule of law. Property rights are violated as is free enterprise,” said Mahmut Tanal, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy.

Investors do not opt to invest in Turkey when the rule of law is under threat, Tanal maintained, adding, “In the absence of investment, there remains no employment, taxes are not levied and unemployment grows.”

A Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Kars deputy and former minister, Gürcan Dağdaş said, “Hijackers disguised as state officials attempted to confiscate Koza İpek yesterday and Kaynak Holding today. The free market economy has turned into a free usurpation economy.”

The court decision to put Kaynak under receivership came only days after a similar court decision imposed the same practice on Koza İpek Holding, which had among its subsidiaries four media outlets critical of the government's policies. The courts' decisions are regarded by most as the last waves of pressure against the faith-based Gülen movement, which is inspired by the Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

In reference to a previously signed loan agreement between Turkey and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dağdaş said Turkey might again be obliged to ask for the IMF's help due to the growing risk of an economic crisis.

In a press statement on Wednesday, the Turkish Publishers Association (TYB) also reacted to the decision by saying, “It is worrisome that the content of some publications could be censored as a result of such seizures.”

Among the Kaynak group's companies are Turkey's largest publishing house and the NT Mağazaları nationwide bookstore chain.

Published on Today's Zaman, 19 November 2015, Thursday