Turkey’s Dogan Holding, a company embroiled in a multi-year conflict with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been banned from government tenders, according to a decision in Wednesday’s Official Gazette.
The Energy Ministry ordered Dogan and Petrol Ofisi, a fuel retailer it owned until 2010, to serve 237 days remaining on a one-year ban imposed in 2009, according to the Gazette. The ban had previously been annuled by a court order. It applies to government tenders in all sectors, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters in Ankara today.
The penalty comes as Erdogan repeatedly bashes the company’s media group, saying it represents an “old Turkey” in which newspaper headlines could bring down governments. Such criticism prompted Dogan to respond with an open letter to Erdogan on May 19.
“What do you want from us?” it said in the letter, published on the front page of Hurriyet newspaper. “Will you exile us?”
Dogan shares fell 1.7 percent to 0.60 liras at 11:40 a.m. in Istanbul.
Yildiz said the penalty reinstated on Wednesday had nothing to do with the latest disputes.
“We abided by the law and after an appeal, we were found right again,” he said. “We’re obligated to impose this penalty.”
The orginal 2009 ban was imposed when the state tenders board said Petrol Ofisi, then a Dogan company, broke the conditions of a contract with the energy ministry. Dogan sold Petrol Ofisi to Austria’s OMV AG the next year, after being slapped with a tax fine of about $3.8 billion.
That fine also followed public clashes with Erdogan, after Dogan-owned newspapers reported in late 2008 on alleged corruption at an Islamic charity with connections to government officials.