Turkish media mogul in legal soup over fuel smuggling

Turkish publisher Aydin Dogan holds the Victoria award during a ceremony at the Publishers Night in Berlin in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 02 March 2017

Turkish media mogul in legal soup over fuel smuggling

ANKARA: The honorary chairman of Turkish conglomerate Dogan Holding was summoned on Wednesday to appear in court over accusations of fuel smuggling, a day after Turkey’s president criticized a story published in the group’s Hurriyet newspaper.
Aydin Dogan, 80, who founded and ran media-to-energy conglomerate until 2010, is a prominent figure in Turkey’s secular establishment and has had strained ties with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AK Party in the past.
His group has faced charges that it ran a fuel-smuggling ring a decade ago and Dogan and Isbank’s Ersin Ozince, 64, face up to 24-1/2 years in prison on charges of setting up a criminal gang, smuggling and fraud.
This is the first time, however, that Dogan has been summoned to court in the case, rather than being represented by his lawyer. Dogan and Ozince have denied any wrongdoing.
The Istanbul court ordered that Dogan be compelled to attend the next hearing in the case where 47 defendants are being tried, state-run Anadolu Agency said.
The group’s newspaper Hurriyet has come under fire for a Feb. 25 story saying the government had not sought the opinion of the army before lifting a ban on the headscarf in the military.
The headline was seen as implying discord between the army and government and was criticized by Erdogan on Tuesday, sending shares in Hurriyet and Dogan Holding tumbling.
The shares fell further on Wednesday with Dogan Holding down 4.2 percent and Hurriyet 1.4 percent lower.
The court case covers the 2001-2008 period when Dogan Holding and Isbank owned stakes in Petrol Ofisi, Turkey’s biggest chain of gas stations, now operated by Austria’s OMV. The retailer is accused of avoiding customs taxes.
Erdogan has repeatedly accused Dogan Holding of bias against the government, which the media organization denies.
Aydin Dogan has dismissed the oil smuggling case, saying it lacked reason and legal basis


Iran’s threat to destroy Tel Aviv from Lebanon condemned

Updated 11 December 2019

Iran’s threat to destroy Tel Aviv from Lebanon condemned

  • Lebanon is not an arena for external use by any country, says information minister

BEIRUT: A statement by a senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has triggered a series of condemnations in Lebanon, after he claimed the country could be used for military strikes.

Maj. Gen. Morteza Qorbani told Mizan News: “If the Zionist regime makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon,” according to Russia Today, adding he claimed his words were “a response to Israeli statements about launching military action against Tehran.”

“Iran is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and Israel is too small to make any mistake toward Iran. If the Supreme Leader orders a missile attack against Israel, all Zionists will raise their hands and surrender. 

“The hearts and souls of the people of Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq are with Iran, and the recent events in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran aim to strike the unity of the resistance front, including the Islamic Republic.”

In response to the statement, Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab said: “If what is attributed to (Qorbani) is correct, it is unacceptable and it is a violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon, which has a relationship of friendship with Iran.”

The minister, who belongs to the Free Patriotic Movement allied to Hezbollah, stressed: “The independence of the Lebanese must not be affected in any way.”

Farid Al-Bustani, a member of the parliamentary bloc affiliated with the Free Patriotic Movement, said: “If this is true, it is a violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon on the one hand and the status and immunity of the resistance on the other.”

FASTFACTS

● Iran’s Gen. Morteza Qorbani told Mizan News: ‘If the Zionist regime makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon.’

● Lebanon’s Minister of Information Jamal Al-Jarrah described the words as ‘irresponsible and arrogant, constituting an affront to the sovereignty of Lebanon, the people and the state.’

Minister of Information Jamal Al-Jarrah described the words as “irresponsible and arrogant, constituting an affront to the sovereignty of Lebanon, the people and the state.

“Iran can defend itself however it wants, but Lebanon is not a mailbox for the IRGC and is not an arena for external use by any country. These words are completely unacceptable.”

The president of the Independence Movement, Michel Moawad, criticized Qorbani’s statement, while member of Parliament Nadim Gemayel demanded a “clear position on these words from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, President of the Republic Michel Aoun and from (Prime Minister) Saad Hariri.”

Hezbollah’s Ibrahim Al-Moussawi tweeted: “In light of the enemy’s (Israeli) occupation of Palestine, parts of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, the threat against Egypt, and the Zionist appetite open to our oil, gas and water, any call to neutrality is misleading and suspicious, and it is a betrayal of the homeland, right and justice, and meets the enemy’s goals intentionally or unintentionally.

“Neutrality is at best a delusion and at its worst is treachery. Reject it.”