Turkey seizes 18 Akın İpek companies valued at $10 billion

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An Ankara court on Thursday ordered the seizure of all assets of Akın İpek, including 18 companies valued at over $10 billion, İpek wrote on his personal Twitter account.

Ankara 4th Penal Court of Peace Judge Deniz Gül on Thursday ordered that all assets of 18 companies belonging to İpek be transferred to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, a social movement inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.

“The night gets darker, the storm gets wilder. It does not stop. They seized all my companies today. [Worth] $10 billion. Without a trial, without a court [verdict]. I did not do anything wrong. I have never been involved in any crime. Never gave up living straight. My religion forbids [living in a wrong way]. God had given [wealth], and I just say If he wishes, he will give again. So much pain, so many tears…” İpek wrote in tweets.

Earlier on Thursday, a garden wall and some arbors of a house belonging to Melek İpek, Akın İpek’s mother, that were allegedly illegal, were demolished by teams from Ankara’s Gölbaşı Municipality, which is a Justice and Development Party (AKP) municipality, to the accompaniment of Ottoman marching music.

The İpek family has been under immense pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP government due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement following corruption operations that were conducted on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013.

On Oct. 24, 2015, the government appointed trustees to take over the management of dozens of companies belonging to the İpek family in addition to several media outlets operating under the İpek Media Group, due to their critical stance against the government.

Earlier on Wednesday, an İstanbul court also ordered the seizure of all assets of 41 businessmen suspected of allegedly financing the Gülen movement. The assets of Akfa Holding and its 44 subsidiaries as well as those of Fi Yapı executive board chairman Fikret İnan have been seized.

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 December 2013 corruption investigations, the Turkish government had launched a witch-hunt against people who are sympathizers of the Gülen movement. 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.

Immediately after the putsch on July 15, the AKP government along with President 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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