Tax turns into politics

‘It’s an attack on a free and independent press!’, say newspapers belonging to Dogan Publishing, the biggest media conglomerate in Turkey, which in turn is part of the Dogan Group, one of Turkey’s biggest companies. ‘Just obey the law and pay your taxes’, says Prime Minister Erdogan. Dogan Publishing was heavily fined for a tax irregularity, and the country is in uproar. Dogan newspapers – big ones like Milliyet, Hürriyet, Posta – have been publishing outraged statements in which they passionately defend a free and independent press. Erdogan uses all his powers of oratory (and he has some) to tell election audiences that not only small companies have to pay taxes, but big ones too can no longer evade them. In the end, from whichever angle you look at it, taxes turned into politics. I don’t trust either side in this matter. Erdogan could convince me if companies related to his family, (for example the one where his very young son-in-law rose at meteoric pace to be CEO), also get tax audits. Dogan Publishing, (which is not as free and independent as it claims, since it is part of a big conglomerate that sees its newspapers as mere elements in its wider strategy), could convince me if they dedicated at least one investigative journalist to really delve into the matter before they immediately start claiming, as they have done, that the tax fine was totally unjust. I don’t see either one of those possibilities becoming a reality.

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