The trial of 97 defendants, including executives of Kaynak Holding, a conglomerate accused of funding the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) opened in Istanbul yesterday.
The defendants include Kemal Batmaz and Harun Biniş, two non-military FETÖ figures and former executives and employees of Kaynak subsidiaries, who are also accused of being co-conspirators in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Mustafa Özcan, the right-hand man of the group's leader Fetullah Gülen, is among 36 fugitive defendants in the case, while Batmaz and Biniş were jailed after they were captured near the command center of putschists in the capital Ankara during the coup attempt.
Prosecutors say Kaynak Holding is at the heart of FETÖ's money transactions and funding of the group's activities.
Batmaz, Biniş and Özcan are among 39 defendants who face aggravated life imprisonment on coup charges, while prosecutors ask lesser charges for other defendants.
An Istanbul court in November 2015 ordered the appointment of trustees to administer the holding, which covered 19 subsidiaries, one foundation and one association.
Before and after the coup attempt, authorities clamped down on the terrorist group's business arm and appointed trustees for thousands of companies accused of funneling funds to FETÖ. The group depends on a global network of schools and businesses and "donations" by followers to finance its activities.
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