Turkey’s banking watchdog included in anti-Gülen financial operation
DHA photoTurkish authorities detained dozens of banking watchdog inspectors on Aug. 19 as the government vowed to cut off financing to companies suspected of having ties to last month’s failed coup.
The banking investigators were detained on suspicion of making “irregular” investigations into the account of a government-related foundation and those of business people, including targets close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it reported.
The suspected inspectors made 5,270 inquiries into some 60 accounts during 317 inspections between Jan. 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014, including the account of the Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV), a foundation close to Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan, and the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH), which organized the ill-fated 2010 flotilla to Gaza, for its objection to a recent agreement between Turkey and Israel and its decision to launch a flotilla in the first place.
President Erdoğan had stated that the İHH was an aid organization that risked death for its cause. However, after the recent Turkey-Israel normalization deal in late June this year he criticized the group, asking “Did you ask the then-prime minister [himself] to take such humanitarian aid from Turkey?”
Meanwhile, authorities ordered on Aug. 18 the detention of nearly 200 people, including leading businessmen, and seized their assets in an operation targeting a Gülen-linked business association.
The Second Criminal Court in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri appointed five trustees to the company as part of an ongoing probe into the organization, according to a judicial source.
A former executive at the holding, Hacı Boydak, and three other executives – Şükrü, İlyas, and Bekir Boydak – were detained in early August, while a court in Kayseri ordered the release of the holding’s chairman, Mustafa Boydak, and another executive, Halit Bayhan, on probation that included an international travel ban.
According to the Boydak Holding website, the family-based consortium was established in 1957 and has interests in furniture, textiles, chemicals, marketing, logistics and energy. Its 42 companies employ more than 14,000 members of staff.
800 million lira in cash in one account
Sabah newspaper reported on Aug. 19 that police found some 800 million Turkish Liras of cash in the bank account of lawyer Fevzi Cem Şenocak from the Black Sea province of Samsun, saying he was one of the five money-holders of Gülen in Turkey. Şenocak was arrested.
Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said the government was in talks with banks to cut off funding to firms linked to Gülen.
“The cutting off of terror financing ... is critical,” Şimşek told broadcaster TRT Haber. “We are talking about a few hundred companies, this is not enough to impact the economy seriously.”
Turkey has detained some 40,000 people in its investigation into the July 15 attempted coup, which it says was orchestrated by U.S.-based Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen.
Around 20,000 people have been arrested within the scope of the anti-Gülen probe.