Trustees appointed to 4 companies in Şanlıurfa in gov’t-led move

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A local court in the southeastern Şanlıurfa province has appointed trustees to take over the management of 4 companies, including two education institutions, in yet another government-led move targeting the Gülen movement.

The Şanlıurfa 2nd Penal Court of Peace ruled that trustees be appointed to four companies that include the private OSM Ortadoğu Hospital, Nilüfer Private Education Services Corporation and Merkür Private Education Corporation due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, a grassroots initiative comprising people inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s teachings.

The trustees were appointed after an investigation was launched into the four companies by Şanlıurfa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The office ordered police officers from the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau of the Şanlıurfa Police Department to search the companies on the suspicion that they provide financial support to the so-called “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY),” which is used by the government-backed judiciary to frame sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

“Parallel state” is a term coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in December 2013 to refer to people believed to be inspired by the ideas of Gülen, especially those within the state bureaucracy.

Since a corruption investigation that implicated figures close to the government, as well as government members themselves, came to public attention on Dec. 17, 2013, then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government. He said sympathizers of the movement within the police department had fabricated the graft scandal. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity during the course of the investigation. Erdoğan said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement.

The Gülen movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it. There is not a court decision which declares the movement as a terrorist group either.

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