Detention warrants issued for 47 businessmen over Gülen links

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Detention warrants were issued on Monday for 47 businessmen in Mersin province as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement by the Mersin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, CNN Türk reported.

According to the report, 29 of the 47 businessmen were detained during police operations while 18 are still at large.

Listed as “evidence” against the businessmen was increasing their deposits in Bank Asya, which was personally targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and later seized by the government in 2015; becoming members of Gülen movement associations, which were closed by the government following a failed coup attempt last year; and while travelling abroad using the same hotel as people linked with the Gülen movement.

President Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government launched an all-out war against the Gülen movement following a Dec.17-25, 2013 corruption investigation that included ministers and Erdoğan’s family.  It turned into a witch-hunt following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on July 18 that the government had seized 966 companies from people allegedly linked to the Gülen movement.

“In addition, 4,888 properties of those 966 companies were also seized and transferred to the Finance Ministry,” said Kurtulmuş.

Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkey suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants after the coup attempt.

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