Firm pulls back from Abkhazia

ISTANBUL - Benetton Turkey, the Turkish arm of Italy’s leading brand, retreated from a decision to open a store in Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia.

In a written statement Thursday, Benetton Turkey said it wanted to "put an end to current or possible speculations due to the delicate situation in Georgia" and "decrease tension that would have nothing to do with a commercial firm."

Benetton Turkey said it decided to cancel the decision to open a store in Abkhazia "despite not having received any warning from any official institution."

Noting that Benetton Turkey is operating the firm’s Georgia operations since 2001, the firm said it is the first global ready-wear brand to enter the Georgian market. "Benetton Turkey is conducting 2 million euros-worth of commercial activity in its eight stores in Tbilisi, Batumi and Kutaisi," the statement said.

"Benetton Turkey puts great importance in the sustainability of its rising sales volume in Georgia," the firm said. "When Benetton decided to open a store, acting upon the demand in Abkhazia, it operated in accordance to national and international law. This purely commercial decision had no intention to offend any party."
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