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Turkish restaurant chain owner arrested over Gülen links


Murat Sivrikaya, owner of the famous çiğ köfte (raw meatballs) restaurant chain Komagene, was arrested Monday on terrorism charges over his alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Diken news website reported.

The businessman was detained last week as part of an investigation conducted by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt in 2016 and is called by the government a “terrorist organization.” The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt and any terrorist activity.

Sivrikaya was deputy chairman of the İzmir Businessmen’s Association, which was closed down by the government due to its Gülen links in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

Following the failed coup, the government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 50,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.

As part of the crackdown on the Gülen movement, Turkish authorities have sent many famous baklava makers and owners of some renowned restaurants to jail, leading to many to question how these people could take part in the coup.

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