Exiled Turkish terror suspect to face extradition hearing: UK Interior Ministry
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Exiled Turkish businessman Akın İpek will face an extradition hearing in Britain in September, the British Interior Ministry said on July 21, following his arrest in relation to a Turkish request to extradite him.
İpek built a multibillion-dollar fortune in Turkey based on gold mining but left the country in 2015.
The Gülen network, which the Turkish authorities refer to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), is widely believed to have orchestrated the coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.
In 2015, Turkey seized İpek’s Koza-İpek Group and its media outlets, including broadcasters and newspapers, on suspicion of financial irregularities, prompting criticism from rights groups in Turkey and abroad.
Britain’s interior ministry said on July 21 that İpek had been arrested in relation to the Turkish extradition request and an extradition hearing had been listed before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in September.
The ministry declined to comment further.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, also citing British sources, said İpek had been arrested in May over the extradition request but was released on bail with certain travel restrictions.
Britain’s potential extradition of İpek, whose brother and the director of Koza Group has been jailed for over two years, would mark the first high-profile extradition by a European Union member state since the failed coup, Turkish media said.
A spokesman for İpek’s Koza Ltd told Reuters this week that accusations made by the Turkish government were baseless and said İpek expected the extradition request to be rejected.
“Mr. İpek is one of Turkey’s most respected entrepreneurs and is a man of good character. He has complete confidence that the English courts will throw out this extradition request, which is the latest attempt to bring the Turkish state’s ongoing campaign of persecution to these shores,” the spokesman said.
Since leaving Turkey, İpek has been seeking to build up assets in Britain.
Turkish authorities have taken control of hundreds of companies as part of operations carried out on companies it suspects of links to Gülen and his supporters. The government has also shut down more than 130 media outlets and many more foundations and organizations as part of the purges.