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52 businessmen detained in Izmir-based coup probe

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A total of 52 businessmen were taken into custody as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt, on Thursday.

Detention warrants were issued for 87 people who are alleged to have ties with Izmir-based business associations that had been earlier closed under post-coup emergency rule. Police carried out operations Izmir, Istanbul, Iğdır, Muğla and Kütahya, detaining 52 so far.

According to pro-government Sabah daily, suspects also included two owners of the Boyumar grocery store chain.

The Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSİAD) on Thursday urged the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to end a state of emergency (OHAL) that was declared on July 20 and to stop ruling the country by emergency rule decrees (KHK).

“Some OHAL practices negatively affect trade, especially in Anatolia. We want OHAL ended immediately and an end to ruling by KHKs,” said Cansen Başaran-Symes, TÜSİAD chairwoman.

About 70 companies were seized by the government over the last week as part of an ongoing witch-hunt against the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding the failed coup attempt on July 15.

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.

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.

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 government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Despite Gülen and the movement having denied the accusation, 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.

More than 120,000 people have been purged from state bodies, nearly 80,000 detained and some 40,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees included journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were arranged prior to the coup attempt.

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