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Company seized over alleged Gülen links being sold to pro-gov’t firm at rock bottom price

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Turkey’s Competition Authority has authorized the sale of a company owned by Naksan Holding, at one time one of Turkey’s largest corporations before it was seized by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government following a coup attempt in 2016, to a pro-government company at a very low price, the TR724 news portal reported on Monday.

A recent decision by the authority allowed Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) to sell Naksan Holding’s Naksan Plastic Economic and Commercial Integrity to Aby Plastik Ambalaj, a pro-government plastic packaging company, for TL 1.2 billion ($81.7 million), which corresponds to one-fifth of the company’s real value, according to Turkish media reports.

Among Naksan Plastic’s products are pallet covers, heavy-duty bags, greenhouse covers, mulch film, industrial shrink wrap, stretch film and printed bags.

TR724 said that in the event of a sale, either the TMSF or the buyer also would have to pay Naksan Plastic’s current debt in the amount of TL 7.521 billion ($512 million).

The Competition Authority’s decision comes after Dilek Güngör, a columnist for the pro-government Sabah daily, claimed in an article in March that the 3rd Criminal Chamber of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals would decide in 20 days’ time to transfer the ownership of Naksan Holding and the Koza-İpek Group to the government.

The Turkish government seized Naksan Holding, which comprises more than 50 companies operating in various sectors including industry, energy, construction and transportation, appointing trustees to replace its board of directors due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, days after the abortive putsch on July 15, 2016.

In addition to Naksan Holding, the TMSF has taken over major conglomerates including Dumankaya, Boydak Holding, the Koza Ipek Group and Kaynak Holding among 880 other private companies, according to Turkish media reports.

Ankara deems the faith-based movement inspired by Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen a terrorist organization and accuses Gülen as well as members of his movement of masterminding the coup attempt. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

Following the failed coup, the AKP government launched a massive purge targeting the Gülen movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight and has removed more than 130,000 people from civil service jobs.

The government also seized schools, universities, media outlets, companies and buildings and the assets of individuals, corporations and organizations that were believed to have ties to the movement.

No figures are available verifying how much personal wealth and how many assets have been seized by Erdoğan’s government during the massive post-coup purge that is still ongoing in Turkey.

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