Turkish court rules to seize assets of 54 journalists over Gülen links

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Zaman columnists Şahin Alpay and Ahmet Turan Alkan are currently in jail.

A Turkish court on Thursday ordered the seizure of all assets of 54 journalists over their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

The decision was made by the İstanbul 11th Penal Court of Peace.

Some of the journalists are already under arrest, but they have not yet stood trial and have not even been indicted.

Most of the journalists whose assets will be seized are from media organizations that were closed down by the government in the aftermath of a coup attempt on July 15 due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Zaman daily journalists Veysel Ayhan, Mustafa Ünal, Şahin Alpay, Nuriye Ural, Mümtaz’er Türköne and Süleyman Sargın as well as the editor-in-chief of the Today’s Zaman newspaper, Sevgi Akarçeşme, are among the journalists whose assets will be seized. Both Zaman and Today’s Zaman were closed down by a government decree following the coup attempt on July 15.

Turkey seized the assets not only of critical journalists, but also of the last two owners of the Zaman media group, Ali Akbulut and Mehmet Akif Afşar.

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 Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, 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 115,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 90,000 detained and over 39,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.

The full list of 54 journalists whose assets are confiscated by the Turkish government is as follows:

Hamit Çiçek, Hakan Taşdelen, Fevzi Yazıcı, Faruk Akkan, Faruk Kardıç, Erkam Tufan Aytav, Zafer Özsoy, Yüksel Durgut, Veysel Ayhan, Şeref Yılmaz, Şenol Kahraman, Süleyman Sargın, Şahin Alpay, Sevgi Akarçeşme, Sedat Yetişkin, Ömer Karakaş, Osman Nuri Öztürk, Oktay Vızvız, Nuriye Akman Ural, Nevzat Güner,Mümtazer Türköne, Mustafa Ünal, Murat Avcıoğlu, Mehmet Akif Afşar, Mehmet Kamış, Lalezer Sarıibrahimoğlu, Kemal Soydemir, Hüseyin Döğme, Hilmi Yavuz,Melih Kılıç, Ekrem Dumanlı, Cuma Kaya, Cevdet Türkyolu, Bülent Korucu, Bülent Keneş, Ali Bulaç, Ali Ünal, Ali Akbulut, Alaatin Güner, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Zeki Önal, Osman Nuri Arslan, Metin Tamer Gökceoğlu, Mehmet Özdemir, İhsan Dağı, Hamit Bilici, Behçet Akyar, Adil Gülcek, Abdullah Katırcıoğlu, Abdullah Aymaz, Hüseyin Turan, İbrahim Karayeğen ve Mehmet Özdemir.

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