22 businessmen, former Bank Asya staff detained over Gülen links

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Turkish police on Thursday detained 22 people including businessmen and former Bank Asya staff as part of an investigation launched by the Kastamonu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into the faith-based Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

According to the report, police raided the homes of 22 people in five provinces.

The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) had taken over management of Bank Asya and assumed control of 63 percent of its privileged shares, enough to name the board, in February 2015. In the aftermath of a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the government closed down Bank Asya on the grounds that it was linked to the Gülen movement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government pursued a crackdown on the Gülen movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated.

Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup in 2016.

Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the coup attempt, Erdoğan launched a witch-hunt targeting the movement following the putsch.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on April 18, 2018 said the total number of people who were arrested over their alleged ties to the Gülen movement between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 is 77,081.

Soylu said on Dec. 12 that 234,419 passports have been revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup.

On Nov. 16 Soylu had said eight holdings and 1,020 companies were seized as part of operations against the movement.

The number of people who have been investigated for alleged ties to the faith-based Gülen movement reached 402,000 in March, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on March 15.

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