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HRD Antwerp Ends Partnership in Turkey, Dubai

Oct 21, 2021 10:37 AM   By Joshua Freedman
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HRD Antwerp has terminated its collaboration with a local partner in Turkey and Dubai, the Belgian grading organization said.

Mehmet Can Özdemir and his company had managed HRD’s laboratory in Turkey since 2014, Ellen Joncheere, HRD’s CEO, told Rapaport News Wednesday. HRD owned 50% of the business in Turkey in a joint venture, while the pair also operated a partnership in Dubai in which HRD held a majority stake.

Joncheere and Özdemir both denied a report on a Turkish news website alleging that the Istanbul office had over-graded stones and that this was the reason for closing the office.

Instead, the October 11 termination was an effort to “divorce” from a “bad marriage” in which the two parties had different visions on how to develop the business, Joncheere said.

However, Özdemir said his company had “not accepted” the “termination notices” HRD sent, as they were “unexpected and, in our opinion, without cause.”

“We have initiated legal action in Antwerp to cause the early restoration of [the] collaboration,” he said in an email Thursday.

“The diamond industry in the Middle East knows very well that HRD Istanbul is a young, dynamic, innovative, service-oriented entity with lots of energy,” Özdemir continued. “This might be the main reason for different points of view. But I would define the situation as neither unhappy marriage nor divorce.”

HRD has not decided whether it will continue to operate in Turkey and Dubai. In the meantime, it has set up a drop-off point in Dubai for customers to submit goods. HRD’s labs in Antwerp, Mumbai and Madrid remain fully operational, it pointed out.

“Our customers, integrity, and the high quality of our services are of the utmost importance for HRD Antwerp,” Joncheere added in a statement. “We will take additional measures in order to minimize the impact of this situation on your business.”

Image: An HRD Antwerp jewelry grading report. (HRD Antwerp)
Tags: Antwerp, Belgium, Dubai, Ellen Joncheere, grading, HRD, HRD Antwerp, istanbul, Joshua Freedman, Laboratories, Labs, Madrid, Mehmet Can Özdemir, mumbai, Turkey
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