Turkey’s advertisement watchdog has handed the producers of the much-disputed “Ülker commercial” TL 301,766 ($87,000) fine in total for “causing anxiety and unease in the public.”
The Turkey-based food giant, Ülker was targeted by pro-government figures when the company’s thematic commercial on April Fool’s Day was considered as a harbinger of a second coup.
State-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday that the Advertisement Board fined TL 301,766 the two companies, TBWA and Plasenta, that produced the commercial. TBWA was responsible for broadcasting the commercial on TVs while Plasenta dealt with the online advertising.
Based on the notion of April Fool’s Day with a message of “It’s the settlement time,” the ad contained cartoon images of jokes that children play on each other on April 1. The food giant later removed the ad from its social media accounts.
Media speculated that the government could have drafted a plan to take over Ülker as part of its sweeping post-coup crackdown against dissident businessmen.
Since the Turkish government pinned the blame for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt on the Gülen movement, a huge blow has been dealt to the private sector. Nearly 1,000 companies with a total value of $12 billion in assets have been transferred to the state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF), while the assets of dozens of businessmen have been confiscated since then.
In November, Ülker’s parent company Yildiz Holding denied media reports that the group was caught up in the government’s widening post-coup crackdown against the Gülen movement.