Police raid dozens of companies for alleged Gülen links

Police raid dozens of companies for alleged Gülen links

Police raid dozens of companies for alleged Gülen links

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The Istanbul police’s financial crimes department conducted operations on Akfa Holding and its companies, along with the A101 discount supermarket chain, in Üsküdar and Ümraniye.

The police department alleged that there are links between Akfa and A101, which has 6,300 stores across the country. 

Akfa is mainly involved in the construction business, with a number of architecture and contractor firms operating under it. 

Speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, the source said arrest warrants were issued for a total of 120 people, of which 50 people, including Fatih Aktaş, chairman of Akfa holding, and his wife, Yeliz Aktaş, were detained.

A101’s owner, Turgut Aydın, was detained in the Black Sea province of Trabzon. 

Police said seven wanted people were abroad, while a search is still being conducted for 63 people.

The detainees working at Akfa Holding reportedly helped “himmet money” transfers, reportedly $40 million, between 2011 and 2015 via Bank Asya to some organizations in the United States and Canada.

Himmet refers to money collected as charity from followers of the Gülen movement. 

Bank Asya, which was seized by the state in May last year, was suspended and it lost its banking license after the coup attempt. 

Bank Asya is also a former shareholder in Yeni Mağazacılık, the owner of the A101 brand. However, it sold an 18 percent share in the retailed for 298 million Turkish Liras to the Aydın family two years ago. Singapore-based Oligo Investments Holding also holds a 29.8 percent share in the company. 

A wave of detentions following the coup attempt has seen thousands of people arrested across Turkey.      
Senior business figures, as well as members of the military, police, judges, prosecutors and teachers, have been among those detained.

One of the largest previous raids was on Kaynak Holding at the end of last month. 

In April, trustees were appointed to 14 additional companies with “organic links” to Kaynak, nearly five months after caretakers forcibly took over companies belonging to the holding for alleged ties with the Gülen group. 

Turkish police units detained employees and arrested managers, including three foreigners, at Turkey’s biggest petrochemicals company, Petkim, in the Aegean province of İzmir on Aug. 2.

Some 200 employees at Petkim, owned by Azerbaijan’s Socar, were also suspended. 

The Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) has appealed to all energy companies in Turkey to dismiss all Gülen supporters. Twenty-five employees of the EPDK were previously dismissed over the failed military coup attempt.

Turkey’s government has said the defeated coup, which left 240 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured, was organized by followers of Fethullah Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, and his Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) network.      

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 named by the government as the “parallel state.”