Assets of 41 business figures seized over Gülen links

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Fikret İnan, Fatih Aktaş, Cahit Paksoy

A Turkish court on Wednesday ordered the seizure of all assets of 41 businessmen suspected of allegedly financing the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a July 15 coup attempt, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

As part of an investigation into Akfa Holding and its 44 subsidiaries, the assets of 41 suspects including Akfa Holding executive board chairman Fatih Aktaş, former CEO of İhlas Holding Cahit Paksoy and Fi Yapı executive board chairman Fikret İnan have been seized.

On Monday the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) had seized all property and assets of Boydak Holding, a leading business group in the central province of Kayseri, over links to US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

The government agency took the measure after authorities decided last week to seize the assets of 64 people, including Gülen and prominent businessman Akın İpek, whose worth is estimated at $7 billion.

The massive wealth grab attracted international attention and prompted criticism but failed to stop the government, which is continuing with the confiscation of the property of critics.

Some TL 12 billion (about $4 billion) in property has been transferred to the Treasury as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement, said Minister for Environment and Urbanization Mehmet Özhaseki on Sept.1.

“A total of 2,514 properties have been transferred to the Treasury and 2,083 properties to the Directorate General of Foundations. Property valued at approximately TL 12 billion has been transferred to the Treasury,” said Özhaseki.

Shaken by the Dec. 15/25, 2013 corruption investigations, the Turkish government had launched a witch-hunt against people who are sympathizers of Gülen. Over 4,000 people were detained, more than 900 were arrested and some 300 companies including banks, hospitals and media had been seized by the government by mid-2016.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Despite Gülen and the movement having denied the accusation and calling for an international investigation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Some 86,000 people have been purged from state bodies, nearly 41,000 detained and 22,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees included journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.

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