Mediterranean Quarterly: Dogan versus Erdogan: Business and Politics in AKP-Era Turkey
Both media mogul Aydın Doğan and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdoğan agree that they met in late 2006 and discussed Doğan’s Hilton Hotel property, but that is where the agreement ends. Doğan had purchased the lot in 2005 when it was privatized. Though he hoped to build residential houses on it, he had been unable to convince the Istanbul municipality to rezone it. According to the prime minister, Doğan brought this matter up, asked for assistance, and threatened that, if help was not forthcoming, he would use his media outlets to smear the prime minister and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Doğan, of course, recalled the events differently. He claimed to have asked no such thing—rather it was the prime minister who had inquired into the issue. Doğan had been more interested in securing a permit to build a refinery near the town of Ceyhan. But, in this too, he had been shot down. Erdoğan claimed he could give no such permit because the site was already desired by the Çalık Group. Given how close Erdoğan is to the Çalık Group, his preference would be easy to understand. Likewise, his unwillingness to assist Doğan would be equally understandable—Doğan represented everything that the AKP had set itself against.
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