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A supporter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves a flag against an electronic billboard during a rally in Kizilay Square on July 18, 2016, in Ankara, Turkey.
Unlike Turkey's media, the government is being fairly selective with the businesses it is targeting in the Gulen mop-up. The purge has expanded to include businesses with alleged links to the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party, but not beyond. Turkey's most important businesses, in particular heavyweights Koc Holding and Sabanci Holding, have not been touched during the purge. The former had been subjected to an aggressive tax probe and robbed of a tender for getting on the wrong side of the government during the anti-government Gezi Park protests of 2013. But none of its companies were taken over by the state and none of its managers were arrested.
Sabanci and Koc are unlikely to be targeted in the medium term at least given their lack of support for the Gulen network and their national economic clout. Snaring these business heavyweights would also tip the government's already precarious balancing act – one designed to crush the remnants of the Gulen movement but not trigger excessive capital flight and a dramatic nose-dive in already subdued FDI. This task has been made all the harder with ratings agency Moody's cutting Turkey's credit rating to junk status in September after Standard & Poor's pushed the country even further into negative territory in July.
Erdogan nonetheless dislikes that which he cannot control if not dictate. Therein lies the biggest risk for an economy which during the early years of AKP rule flourished at least in part from positive, pro-market reforms. Investors need to understand the rules of the game, but if those rules are increasingly being bent, changed or applied to punish rivals and suit Erdogan's domestic agenda, business confidence will dry up.
Anthony Skinner is a director at political risk advisory company Verisk Maplecroft