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Turkey freezes assets of 377 people, organizations on terror charges

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Turkey has frozen the assets of 377 individuals and institutions, including the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen and people with links to the worldwide civic initiative inspired by his ideas and activism, under Law No. 6415 on the Prevention of the Financing of Terrorism, local media reported on Wednesday.

The decision published in the Official Gazette on Wednesday was made by Treasury and Finance Minister Lütfi Elvan and also signed by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

“It is decided that the assets in Turkey of the individuals, institutions and organizations included on the list will be frozen based on the fact that they engaged in acts mentioned in Articles 3 and 4 of Law No. 6415, in accordance with subsection 3 of Article 7 of the same law,” the decision said, in reference to “providing or collecting funds” for terror-related acts.

Among the 365 individuals whose assets have been frozen by way of the 12-page decision are 77 members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK), nine members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), 86 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) members and 205 followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, which is regarded as a terrorist organization by Turkey.

Murat Karayılan, Cemil Bayık, Duran Kalkan, Ali Haydar Kaytan, Remzi Kartal, Sabri Ok, Rıza Altun and Zübeyir Aydar are among those added to the list due to their links to the PKK, a Kurdish group designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union that has waged a separatist insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

Among those who made their way onto the list over links to the Gülen movement in addition to Fethullah Gülen are Ekrem Dumanlı, editor-in-chief of Zaman – Turkey’s best selling national daily before its seizure by the government in 2016; former Koza Ipek Holding Chairman Hamdi Akin Ipek and Hidayet Karaca, former chief executive of the Samanyolu Media Group.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating a coup attempt that claimed the lives of 251 civilians in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Although Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP has jailed some 96,000 people while investigating more than 622,000 over alleged links to the movement as part of a massive purge launched under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

Releasing a statement about the development on Twitter on Wednesday, Akın İpek condemned ministers Soylu and Elvan among others who drew up the list, saying “[It] even targets young people who have been living a simple life abroad for seven years,” in reference to young members of the İpek family whose names were also included on the list.

İpek underlined that the funds and assets of the İpek family were examined and cleared of blame by the institutions of more 50 countries that investigate financial crimes, following a request in 2016 by Turkey’s cabinet to freeze the family’s assets abroad.

“The basis of this decision cannot be lawful. I can only think that it is a way of oppressing and harassing me due to my continuous efforts to seek my rights abroad. I would like to remind you that the only difference between a government and a gang is [the adherence to the] law,” he added.

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