Turkish government puts up for sale properties of 9 TV, radio stations seized from critics

The properties of the 9 of the media outlets which Turkish government has seized under post-coup emergency rule have been put up for sale by the state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF). In a statement on May 31, TMSF listed properties belonging to Can Erzincan, Barış and Ört TV stations, Cuma, Herkül FM and Ört FM radio stations along with Nazar, Yerel Bakış and Turgutlu Havadis newspapers to be sold in auctions.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has seized a total of 942 companies with a total value of TL 40.5 billion since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to a statement from Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli on May 29, 2016.

Responding to a parliamentary question from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Atila Sertel about the number of companies that have either been transferred to TMSF or to which the government has appointed trustees since July 15, Canikli said eight of the 942 companies seized by the government were holdings: Naksan, Hasırcı, Boydak, Koza-İpek, Dumankaya, Kaynak, Akla and Akfel.

There were 234 companies operating under these holdings, Canikli said. The total equity capital of the seized companies is TL18.1 billion, while their combined turnover is TL 21.5 billion, according to a TMSF report. The number of employees in the seized companies is 44,868. The seized companies are from various sectors and include pharmacists, baklava sellers, supermarkets, gas stations and carpet sellers.

The Turkish government has been confiscating the private property of non-loyalist businesspeople without due process on unsubstantiated charges of terrorist links. The companies are alleged to be connected to the faith-based Gülen movement, with the government coining the term “FETÖ” to designate the movement as a terrorist organization despite the lack of any court verdict to that effect.

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.

Among the seized companies are more than 180 media outlets that used to have critical editorial policy toward the government. Turkey is also the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 264 journalists are now in jails as of May 27, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 241 are arrested pending trial, only 23 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) June 1, 2017

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