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ISTANBUL Jan 17 Turkey's competition regulator
has fined Tupras, the country's sole oil refiner, 412
million lira ($186 million) for abusing its dominant market
position in pricing and contracts.
Tupras has the right to appeal the ruling at an
administrative court, the Competition Board said in a statement
on its website on Friday.
"As a result of an investigation, it was decided with a
majority vote that Tupras abused its dominant market position in
pricing and its contracts," it said, without elaborating.
The board's ruling had been due on Jan. 29. Its early
release follows media reports this week of leaked recordings of
conversations between a reclusive Turkish cleric and his
associates about encouraging Tupras to seek overseas contracts.
That cleric, U.S.-based Fethullah Gulen, is engaged in a
political battle with his erstwhile ally Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan over a corruption scandal that has implicated members of
Erdogan's inner circle, including family members.
Erdogan has accused Gulen's followers, who have dominated
the judiciary and police force, of using the graft probe to
undermine his government after 11 years in power.
A spokeswoman at Tupras declined to comment. There was no
indication in the Competition Board statement that the fine was
connected to the corruption scandal.
Tupras is owned by Koc Holding, Turkey's biggest
company which is controlled by one of the country's most
prominent business dynasties.
The government has accused the family of sympathising with
protesters during anti-government unrest.
Tupras and two other Koc energy companies faced a tax probe
last summer. Government officials denied there was any
connection between the tax probe and the protests.
(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Mark Potter)