Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court rules for transfer of FETÖ-linked holding’s assets to Turkey

Published 28.02.2019 15:14
Updated 28.02.2019 19:05

The Supreme Court in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan ruled Thursday that the assets of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ)-linked Kaynak Holding be transferred to Turkey's Savings Insurance Fund (TMSF), which runs trustee-appointed companies linked to FETÖ.

Turkish Ambassador in Bishkek Cengiz Kamil Fırat said this is the first time that FETÖ has lost a case against Turkey abroad.

Kyrgyz authorities previously appointed trustees to the assets of the holding in the country due to its links with the terrorist group.

In addition to various companies linked to the FETÖ, Kaynak Holding, a large conglomerate which was of key importance for the terrorist group to fund its activities and launder money, was appointed trustees in Turkey back in November 2015. The decision covered 23 subsidiaries, one foundation and one association connected to the holding.

The holding was active in publishing and distribution, stationery, retail, paper, media, education, tourism, cargo, logistics and the food sectors.

Kemal Batmaz, the executive of a company in the conglomerate, is accused of being one of the instigators of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Batmaz was arrested near a military base at the heart of the insurrection in the capital Ankara.

The assets of the now-defunct NT Book & Stationery chain stores in Kyrgyzstan, which a Kaynak subsidiary appointed trustees in the aftermath of FETÖ's July 15, 2016 coup attempt, were transferred to a FETÖ-linked Turkish national to avoid confiscation by Turkish and Kyrgyz authorities.

The TMSF's lawyers objected to this move and launched a lawsuit in 2016. The Bishkek City Court ruled against the transfer and re-registration of the company on Dec. 14, 2018, and the appeal against the ruling was rejected by the Supreme Court, awarding the assets to Turkey.

Cengiz Kamil Fırat, Turkey's ambassador to Bishkek, told Anadolu Agency that this ruling constitutes the first finalized ruling against the FETÖ abroad.

The FETÖ rapidly expanded in Central Asia both in education and commerce in 1990s following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Although most countries limited the FETÖ's activities in the early 2000s due its links to the U.S., where it operates dozens of public-funded charter schools and its leader Fetullah Gülen resides, Kyrgyzstan failed to do so as the terrorist group started dominating its cultural, commercial and political scene.

The FETÖ used the country as its hub in Central Asia until President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit in September 2018.

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