77-year jail sentence sought for businessman İpek over Gülen ties

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Akın İpek

An indictment prepared by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office as a result of an investigation into Koza-İpek Holding seeks a jail sentence of 77 years for businessman Akın İpek due to his links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

There are 45 suspects mentioned in the indictment, most of whom are İpek family members. Akın İpek’s brother, Cafer Tekin, who was jailed last April due to his links to the Gülen movement, faces a jail sentence of 90 years in the indictment.

The İpek brothers, their mother Melek and the other suspects are charged with membership in a terrorist organization, violating the tax law, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud in the private sphere and owning unlicensed guns.

The Turkish government refers to the Gülen movement, which promotes educational activities and interreligious dialogue around the world, as a terrorist organization although the movement has not been involved in any acts of violence. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed putsch on July 15, 2016.

In the indictment, the prosecutor also demands the seizure of the İpek family’s assets, valued at TL 1.5 billion.

The İpek family has been under immense pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government due to alleged links to the Gülen movement following corruption operations that were conducted on Dec. 17 and 25, 2013.

On Oct. 24, 2015, the government appointed trustees to take over the management of dozens of companies belonging to the İpek family in addition to several media outlets operating under the İpek Media Group, due to their critical stance against the government.

Turkey has already confiscated some TL 12 billion (about $4 billion) in property that belonged to the İpek family as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement, according to a statement by Minister for Environment and Urbanization Mehmet Özhaseki on Sept. 1, 2016.

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