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Turkey’s dairy giant owner and 18 others arrested on coup charges

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Nineteen people including Nevzat Serin, owner of the Denizli-based dairy Aynes Gıda, were arrested Wednesday on coup charges and links to the Gülen movement.

Serin and company executives Ayhan Batur, Mehmet Ali Özkan, Tümay Çalışkan, Suat Hamit Salmaşır, Salih Bilgin, Onur Nayman, Mustafa Bağcı, Metin Tural, Mekke Yassıkaya, Mehmet Uysal, Hüseyin Aktürk, Harun Ekinci, Fatih Dikbakan, Erkan Altındal, Ali Rıza Işık, Alie Öztürk, Eren Yazıcıoğlu and Hasan Hüseyin Pekdemir were arrested for allegedly transferring money to the Gülen movement and using a smart phone application named Bylock. The government considers Bylock a secret messaging method among sympathizers of movement. Thousands have been jailed over use of Bylock in Turkey.

Employing nearly 1,200 people at its Acıpayam plant, Aynes was among six Turkish firms that were accredited to export dairy products to the European Union in early 2013. Last year the company filed for bankruptcy.

The state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) said in early December that a total of 691 companies had been seized to date by the government due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen 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.

More than 120,000 people have been purged from state bodies, over 80,000 detained and over 41,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.

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