Turkey issues arrest warrants for "Gulen-linked" capital markets board employees

By bne IntelliNews May 23, 2017

The Turkish authorities have issued arrest warrants for 36 employees of the Turkey's capital markets board (SPK) as well as for more than 160 other people citing claimed links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, CNN Turk reported on May 23.

Among those now also subject to an arrest warrant are 33 people at the national telecommunications watchdog (BTK), it added.

Since the failed coup attempt in July last year, some 48,000 people have been arrested for alleged connections to Gulen, the cleric the government blames for the putsch conspiracy despite his strenuous assertions of innocence and condemnation of the events that caused the death of around 250 people.

In May, several ex-employees of Borsa Istanbul were arrested as part of the investigation into the Gulenist network.

Purges launched after the botched coup have also seen around 120,000 people, including military personnel, judges, academics, journalists, police officers, teachers and civil servants at various ministries dismissd.

Additionally, more than 800 firms worth some $10bn have been seized in relation to allegations that they provided financial aid to the Gulenists or that their owners were affiliated with Gulen.

Turkey remains under an extended state of emergency.

There was no negative reaction to the latest investigation developments on Turkey's stock exchange. The BIST-100 was up 0.87% as of 15:00 local time on May 23. The lira had gained 0.02% against the greenback to trade at 3.5603 per dollar.

Some analysts argue that the unprecedented crackdown unleashed after the coup attempt could impact business sentiment and consequently hurt the entire economy over the long run. But the government says that the Gulenists had infiltrated the country’s key institutions and paralysed elements of the entire system.

The Gulenists, according to the government, used their privileged positions within the state apparatus to make enormous economic and political gains. The authorities say they believe that once the country rids itself of the Gulenists, state institutions will be able work more effectively.

The latest business sentiment data suggest that the country’s business community is not much affected by the crackdown. The business confidence index rose for the third straight month in April.

Separately, Turkish police on May 23 said they were seeking another 144 people, including soldiers, academics, lawyers, police officers, prosecutors, teachers, and soldiers over suspected links to the Gulenist network, Reuters reported.

The investigation is targeting an alleged secret Gulenist structure within the military, according to the news service.

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