Turkish bosses, bankers detained in fresh anti-Gülen op

Turkish bosses, bankers detained in fresh anti-Gülen op

Turkish bosses, bankers detained in fresh anti-Gülen op

AA photo

The executives of a major Turkish company and a number of bankers were among 100 people detained by police on April 19 over allegations of funding the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, prosecutors and company officials have said. 

The raids were the latest police operations targeting thousands of supporters of Gülen, accused by President Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of leading what prosecutors described as a “terrorist organization” trying to overthrow the government. 

Two board members of the Dumankaya construction group were named by the state-run Anadolu Agency as being among those taken into custody. 

Dumankaya said in a statement that its board members had been invited to police headquarters to provide information. 

The Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office, which did not name Dumankaya, said 100 people had been taken into custody in an operation focused on Istanbul and carried out across nine provinces. 

A total of 140 arrest warrants were issued. 

Those held are accused of membership of a terrorist group, funding a terrorist group, and spreading terrorist propaganda in relation to the misuse of funds collected by Gülen followers in 2014-2015, the prosecutor’s office stated. 

Gülen and Erdoğan were allies until police and prosecutors seen as linked to Gülen opened a graft investigation into Erdogan’s inner circle in 2013. 

Thousands of police officers, prosecutors and judges were sacked or reassigned for alleged links to Gülen. 
Among those held on April 18 were 41 employees of Islamic lender Bank Asya, founded by followers of Gülen and seized by the government last year, the prosecutor said. 

“Money was collected exploiting religious feelings and was not used for the purpose promised to people who made donations,” the prosecutor’s office alleged. 

Companies ranging from media and mining to furniture and cable-makers have been investigated and executives detained. 

Media outlets linked to Gülen have been seized and some closed. 

Dumankaya has grown strongly in recent years and plans investments of over 1.5 billion liras ($525 million) this year, targeting a rise in sales to 750 million liras this year from 463 million last year, according to its website. 

Erdoğan accuses Gülen of creating a “parallel state” and conspiring to unseat the government with a network of supporters in the judiciary, the police and the media. Gülen denies the accusations. 

A total of 2,261 people were rounded up in operations in 48 provinces across Turkey targeting the financial activities of Gülen’s followers since police measures began, daily Milliyet reported over the weekend, citing police data. 

Those detained include police officers, civil servants, teachers and businessmen. 

A Turkish court in December 2014 issued an arrest warrant for Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, accusing him of heading a criminal group.