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Doğan says holding’s executives have no links to Gülen movement

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Doğan Holding owner and honorary president Aydın Doğan has reacted against the detention of two holding executives on Thursday due to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, saying that he believes the two executives have not committed any crime.

The chief legal advisor and the former chief executive of Doğan Holding were detained in police raids early on Thursday over links to the Gülen movement.

Doğan Holding confirmed the police raid in a statement on Thursday, saying that searches took place only in the “personal” offices and homes of the executives. Doğan Holding’s chief legal advisor Erem Turgut Yücel and former chief executive officer Yahya Uzdiyen are currently in custody.

Speaking at a meeting of the holding on Thursday, Doğan said the two detained executives as well as another one, Doğan Holding Ankara representative Barbaros Muratoğlu, who was arrested last month due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, have been working for Doğan Holding for 25 to 30 years.

“It is impossible for them to have any links to a religious community or a secret organization. I believe our friends have committed no offense,” Doğan said.

The Turkish government has been waging an all-out war against the Gülen movement for several years. The government accuses the movement of masterminding a corruption probe which went public in late 2013 as well as a failed coup attempt on July 15. The movement strongly denies any involvement in either.

Doğan Holding’s media group has strongly supported the government’s narrative and blames the Gülen movement in its coverage.

Doğan Holding even blamed the movement for a heavy tax fine that was imposed by the government in an attempt to avoid investigations over Gülen links. Despite the detention of two more executives, the holding stated that its operations have not been influenced.

In the wake of the arrest of Muratoğlu last month, the holding had released a statement saying that a picture of Muratoğlu buttoning his jacket near Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen during a meeting with him in 2012 had been used as a pretext to arrest Muratoğlu.

In the past, Doğan Holding’s flagship daily, Hürriyet, supported a 1998 political ban against then-Islamist opposition politician Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It ran headlines stating that Erdoğan could not even be elected a “muhtar,” the lowest-ranking elected administrators in Turkey. Following his rise to power, Erdoğan had often lashed out at Doğan media for its opposition stating that he had managed to make it into government by using headlines against him.

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