879 companies worth TL 40.3 billion seized by Turkish government since coup attempt

A total of 879 companies with a total value of TL 40.3 billion have either been transferred to Turkey’s state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF), or trustees have been appointed to their management by the government since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, data from the TMSF have revealed.

TMSF’s quarterly activity report for the January-March period, which was released on Wednesday, showed that the 879 seized companies as of March 31, 2017 are from 43 of Turkey’s provinces.

The total equity capital of the seized companies is TL18.1 billion, while their combined turnover is TL 21.3 billion, according to the TMSF report.

The number of employees in the seized companies is 44,888.

The TMSF report also revealed that a determination of value of 70 out of the 147 media organizations that were closed down by the government in the aftermath of the coup attempt has been completed.

Out of the 147 closed-down media organizations, 38 were TV stations and 39 were radio stations, while 70 of them were newspapers.

The Turkish government has been confiscating the private property of non-loyalist businesspeople without due process on unsubstantiated charges of terrorist links.

The decrees mainly covers companies that are alleged to have been affiliated with or sponsored Gülen movement, inspired by the US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen who is a vocal critic of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on government’s involvement in corruption as well as aiding and abetting radical armed groups in Syria.

Turkish government branded Gülen as ‘terrorist’ and asked for his extradition from the US. Washington has so far balked at the request, citing lack of any evidence suggesting Gülen is involved in any type of terror activity. Turkish government has also led the campaign to crackdown on firms on alleged links to Gülen movement with the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) taking over the assets and wealth of major corporations.

Assets of prominent businessman Akın İpek, whose worth is estimated at $7 billion, were seized as well as all property and assets of Boydak Holding, a leading business group in the central province of Kayseri.

The government also seized Bank Asya, the largest Islamic lender that is affiliated with Gülen, on dubious grounds of financial mismanagement in May 2015. The bank’s shareholders denied the allegations and launched a legal action.

The arbitrary seizures, considered as an attack on right to private property and right to free enterprise by many, drew negative reactions from the opposition as well as from abroad, shaking investors’ confidence in Turkish economy.

The government accuses the movement of masterminding the failed coup attempt  on July 15 even though the latter denies involvement, demanding credible evidence. The government’s crackdown against the movement, however, is not limited to the period following the coup attempt since the managements of many organizations affiliated with the movement have already been seized by the TMSF over the course of the past three years.

See the list of seized private companies in Turkey: http://www.tmsf.org.tr/sirket (SCF with turkishminute.com) May 24, 2017

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