Turkey – After last month’s failed coup d’etat, governmental authorities have now chosen to place guilt on the private sector.
Around two hundred people have been detained and their assets seized while they are investigated for their “apparent” connection with the military rebellion.
According to President Tayyip Erdogan, the main culprit of instigating the revolution was Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Muslim cleric that resides in the United States. Erdogan has stated that Gulen’s Turkish charities and schools are “nests of terrorism.”
Since the July 15 coup attempt, Erdogan has issued an attack against tens of thousand of citizens, including those who work in education, military, judiciary, media, local government and healthcare sectors.
The detentions have been so massive, that according to The Guardian, authorities have issued a decree to give conditional release to almost forty thousand prisoners, with the aim of making space for those detained following the coup.
Many Western allies worry that Erdogan is giving himself, even more, power, and is using the coup as an excuse to crush dissidence.
On Thursday, police officers broke into two hundred workplaces and households, trying to find all the citizens that appeared in 187 arrest warrants issued by a chief prosecutor. All the suspect’s assets were also confiscated for the time being.
Those in the arrest warrants are supposed to be Gulen’s supporters, and there are many influential businesspeople involved, who are accused of financing the cleric.
Among the businesses attacked, were a couple of Fortune 500 companies, clothing makers Eroglu Holding and Aydinli Group.
Fortune 500 is an annual list published by Fortune Magazine. The list compiles 500 of the largest U.S. corporations by total revenue.
Last year, Eroglu had sales of 490 million lire, while Aydinli had revenues of 928 million lire ($317 million).
Eroglu representatives have denied any connection to Gulen, Gulluoglu, a baklava maker.
“He would never stand with a terrorist organization or civic group that supports a terrorist organization,” said a statement released by the company after Nejat Gullu, the head of Gulluoglu, was detained.
Erdogan administration has claimed that almost 4,500 companies “linked with Gulen” had been seized and closed.
It is believed that more than forty thousand citizens have been arrested since July, and almost eighty thousand have been dismissed from their public duty.
Earlier this week, the offices of a healthcare company, a technology company, and a retail chain, detaining its executives.
The persecution continues abroad
European Affairs Minister Omer Celik urged the Germany government to close all businesses that had any link to Gulen.
The Turkish government has also demanded the Unites States to extradite Gulen, something Washington have refused so far.
At present, Erdogan administration keeps searching for one hundred and thirty-seven “fugitives”, who left the country in the coup’s aftermath.
Defence Minister Fikri Isik has said the list of fugitives include nine admirals and general. Isik also admitted the government is considering an extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Military Council, with the idea of ultimately seizing and overhauling the military.