A court in the western province of Bartın on Wednesday decided to appoint trustees to five more companies in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak where the management of 11 companies including mostly schools was recently taken over by trustees as part of a government-led operation targeting the faith-based Gülen movement.
The five companies do business in oil, automotive and mining sectors.
Last Saturday, Zonguldak Penal Court of Peace ruled that trustees be appointed to schools operating under the Asır Private Educational Services as well as some car dealership companies in the province due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.
The Zonguldak court rejected Zonguldak’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s request for the appointment of trustees to the five companies back then. The prosecutor’s office appealed the Zonguldak court’s decision at the Bartın Penal Court of Peace which subsequently approved appointment of trustees to five more companies in the province.
The trustees were expected to take over the management of the five companies on Wednesday evening.
The move in Zonguldak comes amidst escalating government pressure on members of the Gülen movement as well as business groups, hospitals and schools affiliated with it.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government launched an all-out war against the Gülen movement after a corruption investigation targeting people in Erdoğan’s inner circle became public with a wave of detentions on Dec. 17, 2013.
Erdoğan accused police officers, judges and prosecutors he claimed are linked with Gülen movement, which is inspired by Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, of being behind the investigation, which he branded a “coup attempt.”
The movement strongly denies Erdoğan’s allegation.
As part of the government’s war on the Gülen movement, many individuals have been arrested and business places and organizations have been either shut down or taken over by the government on the grounds that they support terrorism.
In a move that attracted worldwide condemnation last month, the AK Party government took over the Feza Media Group, which includes Turkey’s best-selling Zaman newspaper as well as Today’s Zaman newspaper, Aksiyon magazine and Cihan News Agency.