Turkish Businessmen Boycott French Companies

The passing of the controversial Armenian genocide denial bill in the French parliament has prompted strong reactions in Turkish business circles. Several businessmen announced they would suspend business partnerships with French companies.

Turkish Businessmen Boycott French Companies

However, no reaction came from Turkey's Army Pension Fund (OYAK), which is a partner with French giants in the steel, automotive and insurance industries.

Associations Also Call for Boycott

Omer Bolat, chairman of the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD), said the law penalizing the denial of the alleged Armenian genocide passed by the French parliament aimed at obstructing Turkey's accession to the European Union and called for the commercial boycott against France to be a long-term and collective one.

MUSIAD called its members to stop commercial relationships with French companies.

Erhan Ozmen, the chairman of Turkish Young Businessmen Confederation, thinks the passing of the law will have permanent effects on the relationship between the two countries.

However, Ozmen said boycotts and embargos would damage Turkey as much as France, and added that the $5 million French capital in Turkey should not be forgotten.

The Economic Development Foundation also thinks France will correct its "mistake."

Milsoft, a leading software company in Turkey's defense industry, decided not to join the Euronaval 2006, an international fair on defense, to be held in Paris in the upcoming weeks.

Two Turkish companies applied for participation in Euronaval, one of the world's leading naval armament fairs.

However, Yonca-Onuk, a comopany well-known for its Kaan-class fast-patrol boats, is joining the fair.

"We must show a joint reaction against this unlucky and biased decision. Therefore, we decided not to join the fair," Milsoft Marketing Director Cem Koc said.

Yonca-Onuk's boss Ekber Onuk does not agree with Koc.

"We have been taking part in this fair for the last four or five years. There will be a gap unless we join it this year. This gap in the defense industry will negatively affect our company and our country. We should be there for the Turkish defense industry," Onuk said.

Currently in Brussels, Turkish State Minister Ali Babacan said, "As Turkey supports freedom of thought and expression, France's decision to restrict the freedom of thought is contrary to the European Union's basic values."

Babacan added that the decision made by the French parliament did not represent the majority of France. "We will continue with the reform process in the same way. We will take steps to set a good example for our own people, for the rest of the EU member countries and for neighboring states."

As OYAK keeps silent on the law penalizing the denial of the alleged Armenian genocide, several Turkish businessmen are withdrawing their orders from France.

Agaoglu Insaat, a leading company in the construction industry, cancelled its agreement with the French company Carrefour to open a supermarket in its MyCountry project in Cekmekoy Istanbul.

Businessman Turgay Ciner, owner of Sabah Daily and channel ATV, suspended the order of an airplane from France as a reaction against the genocide bill.

Clup Irem Tour owner Saadettin Ulubay suspended a helicopter order from a French company.

Ulubay said they had concerns about the cancellation of reservation in tours to France during the Ramadan holiday.

Some French companies operating in Turkey include Total, Elf, Carrefour, Danone, Tefal, Michelin, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, Lacoste, L'Oreal, Lancome, Christian Dior, Avon, Onduline, Lafarge, Chryso, Air France, BIC, Cartier, Sheaffer, Le coq sportif, Alcatel, AXA, Gunes Insurance, Basak Insurance, Basak Emeklilik Societe General Bank, Turkish Economy Bank, Sanofi and Servier.

TUSIAD: Let us Reply with Reforms

TUSIAD called the French bill "a big mistake."

"A proper reply to be given to France would be to accelerate political reforms to include freedom of expression particularly and proceed toward our goal of full [EU] membership as a country holding memberships talks with the European Union," the association stated.

TOBB: They won't be Invited for Bids

Rifat Hisarciklioglu, chairman for the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), said public administrations in Turkey would not invite French companies to bids after the passing of the bill.

"The French National Parliament made a mistake. Responsibility for this process falls on it," Hisarciklioglu said. The TOBB chairman thinks France failed in the test of law and conscience and described the developments as a black page in its history.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16