Istanbul police conducted a raid at offices of media outlets operating under Gulen Movement linked Koza-Ipek Holding on early Wednesday because the company is accused of involvement in illegal activities by prosecution such as fraud and collection of unauthorised donations.
Groups had gathered outside of the offices of Kanalturk TV, Bugun and Millet newspaper in the Mecidiyekoy neighborhood ahead of the raid.
Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office statement said that police raided these offices of media outlets because the evidence pointed out that there was involvement in illegal activity such as fraud and illegal finance.
“Expert report on scope of the inquiry into Koza Ipek Holding shows the company was financed with funds under the name of ‘himmet’ as illegal donations were collected which had unaccredited sources; while suspects provided financial assets to their shareholders which should have stayed under the ownership of company; creating accounting records for non existing investments and manipulation of stock market,” the prosecution said.
The public administrator who was assigned to manage the company operations following the emergence of “illegal activities,” entered the offices of the media outlets accompanied by the police.
Headed into the building early in the morning, police officers faced resistance from the escalated crowd along with three deputies of Republican People's’ Party (CHP) outside the building.
The building was first emptied by the police, during which the police had encountered resistance.
Visiting the media headquarters, CHP deputy Barıs Yarkadas said the police had entered a building which houses two televisions and three different newspapers by force, claiming the assigned administrator did not have authority.
“Press, media, newspapers, televisions and radios are attempted to be silenced. As a responsible citizen of this country and a journalist, I am here for democracy and freedom. We stand by freedom and pluralist society, ” he said.
According to prosecution, the expert report was prepared after investigating previously seized bills, accounting books, digital records and documents.
The expert had made an inquiry regarding the companies which Koza-Ipek Holding CEO Hamdi Akin Ipek owned or had partnership in, to determine whether these companies had “registered illegally collected donations as if they were company profits, recorded unexplained funds in commercial activities as revenues, if the company revenue used in financing of terrorism, any illegal transfer of money to outside of the country, and if any irregularities in gold production of the company.”
Activities illegal under Turkish penal code
Inquiry points Koza-Ipek collected tons of unaccredited illegal donations which the expert came across during the investigation, and furthermore noted the company was financed with such donations.
Hundreds of documents were gathered by police on seized computers of Gulen Movement linked Koza-Ipek Holding indicates collection of illegal donation by the company, as shown by the digital data of 2014 and 2015 under the section of “monthly fees.”
The prosecution underlines that “since the collected monetary value does not belong to an association, foundation or a non-governmental organization and it has no legal basis, this is a crime under the Turkish penal code. Nobody can collect nonstatutory money and forced to do so.”
A secret circle within the Gulen Movement was determined a national security threat for Turkey by the National Security Council for forming a network within the government institutions such as judiciary, police force and bureaucracy to carry own agenda.
Turkey's chief public prosecutor's office of Istanbul has also prepared an indictment accusing this circle it names “Gulenist Terrorist Organization (FETO)” of “terrorism” charges. The accusations include illegal wiretapping, blackmailing and threatening.
Gulen Movement is also known for collecting “himmet” from its members to fund the organization.
The prosecution also said the export report suggested a further criminal report would be needed to determine the legitimacy of signatures on board of directors' decisions. Meanwhile some of the pages in the book containing the decisions of the board of directors were found to be ripped off or distorted, says prosecution, which draws further suspicion regarding whether the decisions were put into practice or not.
Report said the suspected company and the individuals used the company’s financing for their own purposes and practiced “disguised profit distribution.”
Gold firms operating under the company is also accused of receiving government incentives, however, not making investments promised for incentives while underlining that the cost of production of firms make up one third of production costs in the world, not corresponding with the technical requirements of the sector.
In addition, the report said the gold business of the company shows its production three times more than actual production.
Another accusation directed at Koza-Ipek company is that the donations made by the company was shown more than its profits, reminding that the purpose of businesses is to maximize profits.