A Turkish court on Thursday handed down lengthy sentences to Cafer Tekin İpek and Melek İpek, former board members of İpek Holding, which was seized by the government in 2015, on conviction of membership of the faith-based Gülen movement and tax evasion, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Cafer Tekin İpek, a brother of Akın İpek, the founder of İpek Holding who has been living in the UK since 2015, received nearly 80 years’ imprisonment, while Melek İpek, mother of Akın and Cafer, was given 12 years, 8 months in prison.
The 13 remaining defendants were also given jail sentences ranging between two and almost 10 years.
The court ordered that the defendants’ shares in the company be transferred to the Treasury and that the board of trustees continue to run the organization.
The holding has been managed by a group of government-appointed trustees since 2015.
Turkey accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt, although it strongly denies any involvement. Ankara also believes the movement had attempted to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government several times before the failed coup, most notably by conducting a corruption investigation into the close circle of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2013.
When the government decided to seize İpek Holding, Akın İpek was in the UK and decided not to return home.
The Turkish government filed a formal extradition request for the senior İpek that was rejected by a UK court.