Ankara court issues an arrest warrant in absentia for Koza İpek chairman
ANKARAAnkara Eighth Criminal Court of Peace has issued an arrest warrant in absentia for Akın İpek, the chairman of Koza İpek, a company with links to the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) ally-turned-foe Fethullah Gülen.
Ankara police on Sept. 1 raided 23 companies of the Koza İpek conglomerate over “giving financial support to the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) and conducting its propaganda,” a police source told the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) on condition of anonymity.
Turkey’s Financial Crime Investigation Board (MASAK) launched the raid around 8 a.m. Sept. 1. During the search, police confiscated computers and documents, while also detaining seven suspects.
The detained persons were released on probation by an Ankara court on Sept. 2.
Meanwhile, Ankara Eighth Criminal Court of Peace issued an arrest warrant in absentia for Akın İpek, who is reportedly in the United Kingdom.
Speaking to reporters, Akın İpek’s mother, Melek İpek, denied allegations that her son fled to escape a trial.
“Mr. Akın did not flee to U.K.; he would not and will not. There is no reason for him to escape. They can search seven stories below Earth and above it, but they cannot find a mistake of his,” Doğan News Agency quoted her saying.
A day before the raid, on Aug. 31, Akın İpek released a written statement announcing 27 of his companies had been under financial inspection for the past two years.
“Our group cannot be part of any crime scenario, not even a fictional one,” he said, vowing to “disprove the slander with documents.”
The raid against Koza İpek was widely interpreted as a political move aimed at silencing opposition media.
In addition to opposition politicians and journalists, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass also joined the debate, asking the government to handle the case with delicacy, in order to convince public opinion the law is being applied.
“Particularly in countries like Turkey, where you have very polarized politics and a very polarized media environment, it is important for government to provide to all of the citizens of this country confidence that the law is being applied fairly and equally to all citizens and companies,” Bass said.