McDonald’s Turkey sends million dollars to Gaza amid outcry over McDonald’s Israel's free meals for soldiers

McDonald’s Turkey sends million dollars to Gaza amid outcry over McDonald’s Israel's free meals for soldiers
Facing calls for a boycott of its outlets, McDonald's Turkey hurried to stress it has no connection to McDonald's Israel.
By Akin Nazli in Belgrade October 23, 2023

McDonald’s Turkey has donated a million dollars in humanitarian aid to Gaza to underline that it has no connection to McDonald’s Israel.

The move was on October 21 confirmed by McDonald’s Turkey (McDonaldsTR) in a statement amid simmering anger in Middle Eastern countries that back the Palestinian cause over how McDonald’s Israel has been delivering free meal boxes to Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers involved in Gaza Strip military operations and Israel’s besieging of the Palestinian territory.

McDonald’s Turkey is a local entity owned by Qatar-based Boheme Investment, the statement pointed out.

In all, McDonald’s franchises across the Middle East—including the franchises in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain and Turkey—have donated more than $3mn to Gaza in their bid to distance themselves from their Israeli counterpart, Aljazeera has reported.

As news of McDonald’s Israel’s generosity to IDF soldiers—including 50% discounts for soldiers visiting its restaurants—spread, there were calls in Turkey for a boycott of McDonald’s Turkey outlets. Responding to the backlash, McDonald’s Turkey said there was no operational or organisational connection between McDonald’s Turkey and McDonald’s Israel. The latter, said the former, makes its own business and communication decisions.

Since announcing its support for the Israeli army, McDonald’s Israel, after igniting anger among consumers in Arab and Muslim countries, has switched its Instagram account to “private”.

McDonald’s does not have any restaurants in Gaza or the occupied West Bank Palestinian territory, but Israel has been involved in clashes with Hezbollah fighters in neighbouring Lebanon, a country that does have the American chain.

McDonald’s (New York/MCDTurkeylaunched in 1986, operates 260 restaurants across the country.

In 2022, Boheme Investment acquired 100% of McDonald’s Turkey from Anadolu Group (AGHOL) for a consideration of $55mn.

Vienna-based Boheme Investment is owned by Kamal Saleh Al Mana, a Qatari investor. The investor also has a partnership that operates the McDonald's restaurants franchise in Qatar.