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How Turkey’s government became the country’s top tycoon

The Turkish government has seized scores of companies in its crackdown on the Gulen community after the July coup attempt, which, some believe, will be now transferred to government cronies.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends the International Istanbul Law Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, October 17, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTX2P589
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The Turkish government’s crackdown after the July 15 coup attempt has been expanding rapidly in the business sector, targeting companies accused of financing the so-called Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization, as Ankara has designated the Gulen community, which it accuses of planning and executing the putsch. Under a Sept. 1 legislative decree, scores of companies placed under trusteeship by the courts were handed over to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF), that is, to direct government control.

TMSF Chairman Sakir Ercan Gul said Oct. 4 that 252 companies had come under his agency's purview. Since then, that number has continued to grow; scores of businesspeople have been arrested on charges of belonging to or financially supporting the Gulen movement. Last week, 28 companies were seized in the provinces of Duzce and Tokat, bringing the total to nearly 300. The combined value of the companies in TMSF receivership is estimated at 40 billion Turkish liras ($13 billion) at a minimum.

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