One of the owners of a leading ready-to-wear textile company in Turkey, LC Waikiki, İsmail Hakkı Kısacık are among the businessmen who have been targeted in new wave operations targeting those suspected of having links to the faith-based Gülen movement.
LC Waikiki is a popular textile company which has hundreds of stores across Turkey and in some other countries.
The businessmen who are the target of what many call as politically-motivated operations are mostly against the members of the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) which is affiliated with the Gülen movement. Detention and arrest warrants have been issued for dozens of businessmen while some of them including prominent businessmen have already been detained or sent to jail.
The operations against the businessmen kicked off on Thursday when Turkey ordered the seizure of the assets of 187 businessmen suspected of links to the Gülen movement and Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish-Islamic cleric who inspired the movement.
Turkish prosecutors on Friday issued additional detention warrants for 18 other businessmen who include Kısacık, businessman Ali Ulvi Orhan, a member of the Bank Asya executive board Ali Çelik, businessman Erhan Hacısalihoğlu along with others. Kısacık was detained on Friday.
Some of the businessmen have been detained after police conducted simultaneous raids in their addresses in various districts of İstanbul on Friday. The detainees were taken to İstanbul Police Department after a medical examination at Haseki Training and Research Hospital.
On Thursday, police launched a vast operation in the country’s economic capital İstanbul and other provinces into the companies, the biggest crackdown on business since a coup attempt failed last month.
Prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 187 suspects including CEOs of leading companies, with the İstanbul chief prosecutor’s office ordering their assets to be seized.
In a similar operation earlier last week, Turkish police raided dozens of companies in İstanbul and detained around 100 people.
Local media said around 1,000 police took part in raids at 204 addresses in 18 provinces, which included simultaneous operations at around 100 sites in several districts of İstanbul.
The raids targeted major companies like ready-to-wear retailer Aydınlı Group, bakery Güllüoğlu Baklava, Boydak group and fashion company Eroğlu Holding.
The wanted suspects are accused of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “financing the activities” of Gülen.
The investigation against the businessmen is being conducted by İstanbul deputy chief Public Prosecutor İsmail Uçar who is responsible for overseeing probes concerning terror and organized crime.
Some of the businessmen who were detained in operations conducted on Thursday included Aydınlı Group chairman Ömer Faruk Kavurmacı who is the son-in-law of İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş as well as Güllüoğlu Baklava chairman Faruk Güllü.
In the meantime, owner of A101 discount market chain Turgut Aydın and his sons who were also detained on Thursday were released on Friday evening.
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government which launched a war against the Gülen movement following the eruption of a corruption scandal in late 2013 in which senior government members were implicated, carried its ongoing crackdown on the movement and its sympathizers to a new level after a failed coup attempt last month.
Although the movement strongly denies having any role in the corruption probe and the coup attempt, the government accuses it of having masterminded both despite the lack of any tangible evidence so far.