The İzmir Governor’s Office announced on Wednesday that trustees have been appointed to 57 companies in İzmir as part of an ongoing witch-hunt against the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
The owners of the companies, including the Kavuklar and Küçükbay groups, have already been arrested. İzmir Governor Erol Ayyıldız announced that trustees were appointed in accordance with a state of emergency decree issued on Sept.1, reported Anadolu.
Turkey is currently operating under emergency rule that was declared in the aftermath of the failed coup.
The developments in İzmir came two days after the state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) seized 12 more companies in the town of Turgutlu in western Manisa province, bringing the total number of confiscated companies in this town alone to 30.
In a related development, ECE Türkiye, a subsidiary of the Hamburg-based ECE, owned by the Otto family, was forced to cancel a management contract for a Turkish shopping mall after the Turkish government installed a trustee to run the company that owned the mall due to alleged links on the part of its management to the Gülen movement.
ECE Türkiye, which manages shopping malls in Turkey, had to cancel its contract to manage the Modern East mall in İstanbul following the appointment of a trustee to the company that owns the mall, according to the German Mediengruppe news site.
In its fight against the Gülen movement, as part of a massive purge, the Turkish government has been seizing the private property of individuals as a precautionary measure or directly taking over their companies for real or perceived links to the Gülen movement on charges of alleged terrorism.
On Nov. 8 Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli told reporters that a total of 527 companies had been transferred to the state since the coup attempt.
Among the large conglomerates that have been recently taken over by the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) are Koza-İpek Holding, Boydak Holding, Dumankaya Holding, Kaynak Holding and Naksan Holding.
The companies are alleged to be connected to the Gülen movement, a civic initiative based in Turkey, with the government coining the term “FETÖ” to designate the movement as a terrorist organization despite the lack of any court verdict to that effect.
In separate investigations, the government also confiscated the assets of many businessmen that it considers linked to the movement.
Minister for Environment and Urbanization Mehmet Özhaseki said on Sept. 1 that some TL 12 billion (about $4 billion) in property had been transferred to the Treasury as part of an investigation into the movement.