Jailed businessman Memduh Boydak, former CEO of Kayseri-based Boydak Holding, which was seized by Turkish government of autocratic President of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that “My family was being associated with philanthropy and now we were made a member of terror organisation in one day. I sent money every month regularly to my children who study in the US. And the money I sent was considered as support of a terrorist organisation.”
Prominent Turkish businessman Memduh Boydak defended himself in a hearing at Kayseri 2nd High Criminal Court and said that “We are on trial today due to transactions on our accounts made in 2012. I found myself a code name; name ‘sacrifice’, surname ‘scapegoat’. I have become the victim from my family. We are being judged here today because of the stock exchange that a customer purchased through the internet.”
The Turkish government has been confiscating the private property of non-loyalist businesspeople without due process on unsubstantiated charges of terrorist links. Nearly 1,000 companies with $12 billion in assets have been transferred to the Turkey’s state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The companies in question were mostly targeted as part of a state crackdown against the Gülen movement. Among the seized companies are more than 160 media outlets that used to have critical editorial policies. Assets of prominent businessman Akın İpek, whose worth is estimated at $7 billion, were seized as well as all companies, properties and assets of Boydak Holding, a leading business group in the central province of Kayseri.
“It’s been 3,5 years since I have been prosecuted. Thirty witnesses were heard regarding me. They found only 30 witnesses out of 1,5 million in the city. The others were run away,” said businessman Boydak and added that “On a trip abroad, the previous mayor Mehmet Özhaseki (now Minister for Environment and Urbanization ) asked me to join him in the airplane. He told me that he had found a philanthropist who would make a dorm in the university. The one who would build the dorm was Haci Ali Sözduyar, he said. I did not interfere at all in this incident.”
“Yusuf Şaşoğlu spoke about me as I heard. He came here. He lied at the hearing. Nuh Elmacıoğlu also testified, but Nuh Elmacıoğlu did not tell the car he purchased for the school in America that his children studied in,” said Memduh Boydak and continued “Witnesses who come here are lying or talking in a different way because they are afraid of being arrested. Arif Budak also said something about me, but he is not participating in the last 3 hearings.”
The government’s crackdown on the Gülen movement is not limited to the period following the coup attempt since the management of many companies and organisations allegedly affiliated with the movement have already been seized over the course of the past three years. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said in July 2017 that the government had seized 966 companies from people allegedly linked to the Gülen movement. “In addition, 4,888 properties of those 966 companies were also seized and transferred to the Finance Ministry,” said Kurtulmuş.
‘MAN OF HONOR WAS MADE DISHONEST, DISHONEST WAS MADE HONEST’
By referring to the expression of anonymous witnesses, Businessman Memduh Boydak said that “I have come to know that the secret witness named ‘Ali Dağı’ was İbrahim Düzçekiç. Ali Dağı said exactly three times in his testimony that he did not trust the state. The man who does not trust the state is a secret witness, and we are prisoners here. They created such an atmosphere that the man of honest was made dishonest, dishonest was made honest. The men who testify about me can not be even a patch on me.”
“The code Ayaz said that frequently I had been going to America. Yes, I always go to America. I have been in the United States for at least 100 days out of 365 days a year. I do not hide it any way. Because we are one of the largest companies exporting to America as a business holding. They think these things are going to happen without going to America,” said Boydak.
Boydak, who was one of the members of the Board of Trustees and the Chairman of Melikşah University which was closed by a government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and its properties confiscated, said that “I did not take part in the board of trustees of any terrorist organization and I did not interfere. At this point, the board of trustees of the organization and the university board of trustees are being mixed. I demand about 40,000 people who are working for us to be called here by the court committee and questioned that whom I wanted money under the name of donation.”
“Our lost lives and our families are being judged in this case. We have learned today that helping foundation universities is a crime. I still do not know why I’m under arrest. A provincial scheme, where it came from is unknown, was put into the indictment prepared for me. According to this scheme, I am a leader (of a terror organisation). I have never been in such a scheme and have never been involved. As a business holding we have helped all kinds of foundations and associations as much as possible,” said Memduh Boydak and asked “”So I want to know from whom I received instructions or to whom I gave instructions.”
Stating “I’ve been collecting evidence for 3,5 years,” he added “Why am I arrested if there is no concrete evidence in this period? We have not had anything against the law. My family was being associated with philanthropy and now we were made a member of terror in one day. Regularly I sent money every month to my children who study in the US. The money I sent was considered as support of a terrorist organisation.”
‘I NEVER ESCAPE BY LEAVING 60 YEARS OF LABOUR BACK’
Stating that he is 48, Memduh Boydak said that he was a person who did not get even a single traffic ticket in his life, and added that now he was accused of being a member of terror organisation. “It was really difficult for me to understand it,” said Boydak and continued: “Absolutely there is no possibility of fleeing. We never thought about it at all. We are pursuing our acquaintance as a person and my family. I never let go of our 60-year family savings. We need to fight back and get back our savings.”
“Unfortunately, there are some perception operations on behalf of our parents. My family reputation was brought down in ruins. Perceptions were become realities,” said Boydak and added “A compass was set for us. While ‘Parallel State’ setting a compass for us, did the our state remain silent? There is a scoundrel called Sıtkı Baş. He infiltrated the Board of Trustees of our university. He played double games. I demanded his resignation when the allegations about him were revealed. Did not the state know what the man had done? Why did not our state warn us? If Sıtkı Baş was so dangerous, then why did the state allow him to escape? Why did not the state catch him when we are followed closely? We are not terrorists, not even criminals. I demand my release and a pending trial.”
Meanwhile, businessman Ahmet Türkmen, who was arrested after 508 days of a detention warrant issued for him, said “I do not accept the accusations against me. After being taken into custody, my testimony was taken under pressure. I stayed in police custody for 11 days. I do not accept the statements of those who testify against me, either. If they trust themselves, they will testify here as an upright man. What have been said is just a rumor.”
Stating that “I’ve been kept in a solitary cell for four months,” said Türkmen and hints that he suffered torture and ill-treatment under custody: ” No one in the prison experienced in 4 years, what I lived in 4 months. I cannot be a terrorist. I have been an administrator in civil society organizations for many years. I went on invitation to all the places I worked in. I am a sensitive person. I demand my release.”
Ahmet Türkmen, a Kayseri businessman who have been wanted by police for almost 1 year over his alleged links to Gülen movement, was detained on June 30, 2017 by police in Ankara. It was reported that Türkmen was among 68 people who were investigated by Turkish government over their alleged links to the Gülen movement including prominent businessmen like Hacı Boydak, Memduh Boydak, Şükrü Boydak, Hamdi Kınaş, Ali Halit Gazezoğlu in Kayseri. Türkmen was also named in the list of people whose citizenship were decided by the government to be annulled.
Meanwhile, a Kayseri court ruled on Thursday that Boydak Holding’s five subsidiaries be seized over alleged ties to the Gülen movement. Active in several sectors, including energy, furniture and banking, Kayseri’s Boydak Holding was taken over by TMSF over its ties to the Gulen movement in September 2016. With an annual turnover of some $2 billion, Boydak employs over 13,000 people.
During a trial over Boydak’s involvement in the movement, owners as well as former executives of the conglomerate appeared before the court on Thursday. The court released the suspect Bekir Boydak pending trial whereas ruling to put in pretrial detention 6 others in the same case who stood trial without arrest up until now.
Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempton July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.