Turkey investigates Diageo’s Mey Icki

Diageo’s Turkish operation Mey Icki is under investigation by Turkey’s antitrust authority, according to reports.

Bloomberg News’s Isobel Finkel and Thomas Buckley report that this arises amid allegations that the raki maker abused its market dominance in the country.

Preliminary findings submitted to the Ankara-based competition board were deemed to be “serious and adequate,” justifying a probe, the regulator said on its website Tuesday.

A Diageo representative is reported as saying that Mey Icki will review the issues raised and respond within a required time limit.

The $2.1 billion acquisition of Mey Icki in 2011 has already presented challenges for Diageo, according to financial news service Bloomberg.  Two years after the deal, Turkey’s government enforced a law forbidding advertisements and restricting sales of alcohol.

The UK-based multi-national premium drinks giant has also encountered difficulties in developing countries including China and India.

Diageo has fallen foul of regulators in Turkey before, says Bloomberg. In June last year, the competition board fined the company 41.5million liras ($14.9m) for breaching competition rules.

Mey Icki is Turkey’s foremost producer of raki, the milky aniseed spirit which many Turks consider their national drink. The country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is not among

them. Shortly before the alcohol restrictions were introduced he spoke against the consumption of alcohol in the 99% Muslim country, and designated ayran, a yogurt-based beverage, as the national drink instead.