Court gives lengthy prison sentences to Boydak Holding executives

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A high criminal court in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri has handed down prison sentences of up to 18 years to the executives of Boydak Holding on terror charges due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government brands the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization, claiming it to have masterminded a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

During the 10th hearing of the trial of the Boydak Holding executives at the Kayseri 2nd High Criminal Court on Thursday, the court issued its final verdicts for the defendants, some of whom have been in pre-trial detention for more than 800 days.

Boydak Holding executive Memduh Boydak was given a jail sentence of 18 years on charges of leading a terrorist organization. Hacı Boydak received 11 years, 10 months and Şükrü Boydak 10 years, both on charges of membership in a terrorist organization. These three defendants were already in pre-trial detention.

Other defendants who had been released on their own recognizance, Mustafa Boydak, Erol Boydak, Bekir Boydak, İlyas Boydak and Murat Bozdağ, were given seven years, six months in prison each on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

Halit Bayhan, a former employee of Boydak Holding, was acquitted of all charges.

The Boydaks’ trial began on Nov. 1, 2016 with 68 defendants. The dossiers of the some of the defendants were separated out during the course of the trial.

When asked by the court to give their final remarks before the issuance of the final verdict, Memduh Boydak said on Thursday: “We cannot even be the ‘T’ of terrorism. I am asking for my acquittal.”

Another defendant, Hacı Boydak, who suffered from health problems while in jail, said he was not asking for his release for reasons of health but because he was innocent.

The court also ruled for confiscation of the defendants’ shares in Boydak Holding.

Former Boydak Chairman Hacı Boydak, CEO of the holding Memduh Boydak and two other board members, Erol Boydak and Murat Bozdağ, were detained in March 2016 on charges of supporting the so-called “parallel state,” a reference to the Gülen movement coined by the Turkish government.

Erol Boydak was released after interrogation by prosecutors, while Hacı Boydak and Memduh Boydak were subsequently arrested.

The government in August 2016 also seized Boydak Holding, which is among Turkey’s largest industrial groups.

Boydak Holding is active in a number of sectors, including energy, furniture and banking with 38 subsidiary companies. According to its website, it has an annual turnover of more than TL 6 billion ($2 billion) and employs over 13,000 people.

The military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having orchestrated the abortive coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — calling the 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.

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