Mustafa Boydak among 4 detained as crackdown widens to businessmen in Turkey

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Mustafa Boydak, executive board chairman of the Boydak Holding — one of the largest conglomerates in Turkey – were detained along with three other senior executives of the holding, as Turkish government has widened its crackdown over failed military coup attempt to the business sector.

Boydak Holding executive board deputy chairman Şükrü Boydak, executive board member İlyas Boydak, business development and law coordinator Halit Bayhan were also detained as warrants were issued for two more members of the holding on the same accusations.

Mustafa Boydak were detained by police officers from the counterterrorism unit of the Kayseri Police Department around 7 a.m. on Friday, after officers searched his house.

The four executives were detained on suspicion of membership in the so-called Fetullahist Terrorist Organization [FETÖ], which is used by the government-backed judiciary to frame sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

Holding’s former chairman Hacı Boydak and former CEO Memduh Boydak were arrested on March 6, 2016. Hacı Boydak was released due to being ill on May 17 after his lawyers objected his condition.

Boydak Holding is active in a number of sectors, including energy, furniture and banking with 38 subsidiary companies. According to its website, it has an annual turnover of more than TL 6 billion ($2 billion) and employs over 13,000 people.

A group of rebel soldiers, acting out of chain of command, attempted a military coup at around 10 p.m. on July 15, which left more than 200 people – including civilians – dead.

The Turkish government managed to suppress the coup attempt and launched a large-scale crackdown across the country on media, public servants, judges, prosecutors and teachers, along with rebels within the army. The detentions, arrests and massive purges that followed the crackdown widened and increased after a state of emergency was declared on July 20, concentrating power formally into the hands of Erdoğan by allowing him and his cabinet to make laws by fiat.

Erdoğan has accussed the Gülen movement of being behind the coup attempt and demanded extradition of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen from the US. Thousands of public servants, judges, prosecutors and journalists were detained by the Turkish police for allegedly having links to the Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, Gülen recently issued a statement condemning the failed military coup attempt in Turkey, calling the allegations of his involvement “demeaning.”

The Gülen movement is a grassroots social initiative inspired by Gülen and carries out charitable activities all around the world, including education, distributing humanitarian aid and providing drinking water especially in African countries.

The Gülen movement is not considered to have influence over the Turkish military, which is known for its Kemalist roots that is against the Gülen movement. The rebel military officials who attempted to stage a coup named themselves as “Council of Peace At Home,” in a declaration they forcibly had delivered via the state-run broadcaster TRT on Friday night. The name is a reference to “Peace at home, peace in the world,” which is a famous saying by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

Since a corruption investigation erupted on Dec. 17, 2013 and led to the resignation of four Cabinet ministers, Erdoğan has launched a witch hunt targeting shop owners, teachers, members of the judiciary, journalists and police officers who are accused of being affiliated with the Gülen movement, which is also known as the Hizmet movement. The graft probe implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, members of his family and senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures.

Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government and said that sympathizers of the movement within the police department had fabricated the corruption scandal. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity in the course of the corruption investigation. Erdoğan openly 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.

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