Bosses, baklava kings detained in anti-Gülen probe
ANKARAThe chief prosecutor in Istanbul has issued orders for the confiscation of the properties of 187 suspects, including Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) Chairman Rızanur Meral, Aydınlı Group Chairman Ömer Faruk Kavurmacı and two brothers who run two separate Güllüoğlu Baklava chains, state-run Anadolu Agency reported Aug. 18.
The decision on the confiscation of properties was taken under a statutory decree, which had been published as part of the three-month state of emergency in Turkey.
Sixty people were taken into custody, the prosecutor’s office said.
Faruk and Nejat Güllü run separate chains of restaurants, selling traditional Turkish dessert.
Among the businesses targeted were two Fortune 500 companies, broadcaster CNN Türk said, naming clothing makers Aydınlı and Eroğlu Holding, which both run large retail chains.
No one answered calls to Aydınlı, Reuters said, which had sales of 928 million Turkish Liras ($317 million) in 2015.
Eroğlu, which reported revenue of 490 million liras last year, said it had no links to any company providing financing to Gülen’s movement, Hürriyet reported on its website.
Nejat Güllü was detained, his company said in a statement on its website.
Güllü “would never stand with a terrorist organization or civic group that supports a terrorist organization,” it said and expressed confidence he would be cleared of any charges.
On July 28, police launched a search for Meral, who has been at large.
Founded in 2005, TUSKON has 55,000 members and the organization mainly focuses on foreign trade. However, its credibility with the government did not last long, mainly due to its ties to the Gülen movement.
The search for the rest of the suspects remains ongoing, the prosecutor’s office added.
Earlier on Aug. 18, police raided over 200 addresses across 18 provinces, including Istanbul, as part of a nationwide probe into the financing of the Gülenist group, the suspect of the failed coup attempt on July 15.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a security source said the Istanbul Counter-Financial Crimes Branch Directorate simultaneously raided addresses in the city’s Fatih, Şişli, Kağıthane, Pendik and Şile districts with riot police back-up.
Officers searched premises of TUSKON in 18 provinces across the country.
The source said arrest warrants had been issued for a total of 187 people.
The Aug. 18 raids follow a major operation in Istanbul on Aug. 16 against 51 companies suspected of supporting the followers of Gülen.
Financial crime officers raided companies – including Akfa Holding and the A101 supermarket chain – in the city’s Üsküdar and Ümraniye districts. Eighty arrests were made.
Turkey authorities said 4,262 companies and institutions with links to Gülen had been shut. In total, 40,029 people had been detained since the coup attempt, and about half had been formally arrested pending charges.
Turkey also wants other nations to crack down on Gülen-affiliated organizations, including schools and businesses.
European Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik called on Germany to shut businesses that have links to Gülen and are operating there, according to Wirtschaftswoche magazine.
Gülen is accused of leading a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.