TUSKON says 2 businessmen threatened members with ‘blacklisting’

Date posted: March 4, 2014


Two Turkish businessmen from the Central Anatolian city of Konya have threatened a business confederation by telling it to “cut ties” with Turkey’s largest volunteer-based grassroots movement, the Hizmet movement, or be placed on a government blacklist of entrepreneurs affiliated with the movement, the head of the business confederation has said.

Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) Chairman Rızanur Meral told the CNN Türk television station on Monday evening that members of the confederation had received threats from pro-government businesspeople.

Due to allegations that the Hizmet movement is working to undermine his political power, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has openly threatened business groups affiliated with the Hizmet movement with a “total crackdown” and described them as “traitors.” Erdoğan has failed to provide evidence to prove his claim so far, while the Hizmet movement has dismissed all such claims fabricated by pro-government media as “baseless.” However, Erdoğan’s speeches have not directly named prominent Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is the inspiration behind the Hizmet movement.

“Two businessmen that we know from Konya came to TUSKON members and warned them to distance themselves from Hizmet, or else they would be put on a government list of companies affiliated with the group. … Our members said this is not a problem, and the government can go ahead with blacklisting them,” Meral told CNN Türk.

Referring to an illegally recorded phone conversation in which TUSKON Secretary-General Mustafa Günay consults Gülen about a tender for a refinery in Uganda, saying a Turkish company — Koç Holding, if possible — should enter it, Meral said, “This is normal conduct.”

After being asked whether TUSKON has been affected by Erdoğan’s threats, Meral asserted, “We fear none but God.”

Over the weekend Meral invited Erdoğan, who had called on the Hizmet movement to form a political party, to “join in trade and make his money in equal competition with other market players.”

Source: Todays Zaman , March 4, 2014

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