New gov’t decree paves way for sale of companies seized from critics

A new government decree issued on Thursday makes possible the sale of companies seized by the state as part of an ongoing witch hunt on critics and allows transfer of the proceeds to the Treasury.

In line with the new government decree, numbered 687, Turkey’s Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) will be authorized to sell companies seized by the state through the appointment of trustees.

The Turkish government had effectively nationalized 809 companies by taking over their management or turning them over to the Treasury as of January 2017 as part of the crackdown on opposition and critical groups in the country, according to a parliamentary inquiry.

Responding to a motion filed by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Denizli deputy Melike Basmacı, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said the government had seized 809 companies as of Jan. 11, 2017 with a total value of TL 38.3 billion (nearly $10 billion).

Most of these companies were seized due to their owners’ alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.

RTÜK TO TRANSFER LICENSES OF SHUTTERED MEDIA OUTLETS

Meanwhile, according to a government decree issued on Thursday, Turkey’s media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), will be able to transfer the broadcasting licenses, broadcasting rights and channel utilization of media outlets that have been shut down, especially during a state of emergency declared following a failed coup in July of last year.

The new decree, numbered 687 and published in the Official Gazette on Thursday, also said that revenue derived from the sale and transfer of assets of companies seized by the government during the state of emergency will be transferred to the Treasury.

The government, under emergency decrees, decided to take over hundreds companies, seized the assets of businessmen and shut down institutions, including media outlets, linked to the movement. According to a recent report released by the Stockholm Center of Freedom (SCF), the number of media organizations seized and shut down by the government has reached 189.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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