Istanbul (Turkey): The Government of Turkey on Thursday ordered the seizure of the assets of 187 businessmen suspected of having links to US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.
State media reported that about 1000 police personnel were involved in the vast raiding operation in Istanbul, the country’s economic capital, and in other provinces.
The Anadolu news agency described as the biggest search and raid operation since the failed July 15 military-backed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Raids were carried out at 204 addresses in 18 provinces, including simultaneous operations at around 100 sites in Istanbul.
Prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 187 suspects including the CEOs of leading companies. Sixty of the suspects, including Omer Faruk Kavurmaci, CEO of the Aydinli Group clothing retailer, were reportedly detained.
The Aydinli Group is present in 39 countries with 476 stores and 3,500 employees. The other firms raided included fashion company Eroglu and the bakery Gulluoglu Baklava, reports said.
A reclusive cleric, 75-year-old Gulen has been accused by Ankara of masterminding last month’s attempted coup. He has been in self-exile in the United States since 1999.
On Wednesday, Turkish authorities began releasing some 38,000 prisoners not linked to the coup to relieve pressure on prisons overcrowded with putsch suspects. (ANI)