Turkish court sentences members of top FETÖ financier family

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 09.01.2020 15:45
Akın İpek speaks to media after a U.K. court rejects his extradition to Turkey, London, Nov. 28, 2018. AP Photo
Akın İpek speaks to media after a U.K. court rejects his extradition to Turkey, London, Nov. 28, 2018. (AP Photo)

A two-year trial over Koza-İpek Holding concluded in the capital Ankara Thursday. Fourteen defendants were handed prison terms of between one year and 79 years, including owners and executives of the company.

Koza-İpek is known as one of the leading financiers of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and once ran a TV station and newspaper that served as the terrorist group's mouthpiece. The company's assets were seized in 2015 upon court order. Cafer Tekin İpek, a member of the İpek family that owned the company, was sentenced to 79 years and eight months in prison, in addition to a fine of TL 250,000, while his mother Melek İpek was sentenced to 11 years and eight months in prison and a fine of TL 104,100.

The court also ordered prison terms of between one year and nine years for 12 other defendants in the case, while a separate trial will be held for Akın İpek and four other defendants at large.

Cafer Tekin İpek was sentenced on the charges of membership of a terrorist group, violation of tax laws and capital markets law. Melek İpek was sentenced on the charge of membership of a terrorist group and violation of capital markets law. Other defendants were handed prison terms on charges of aiding and abetting a terrorist group. The court also ordered the confiscation of defendants' shares in Koza-İpek Holding.

The defendants have been on trial since 2017 after the court accepted an indictment on defendants that accused them of financing FETÖ, which is responsible for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt that killed 251 people.

The terrorist group, which disguised itself as a charity and school network with religious undertones before first moving to seize power in 2013, still controls a number of schools and companies as well as foundations across the world.

Akın İpek, who inherited a printing business from his father, considerably expanded his business empire in the 2000s, with some critics tying it to his links to FETÖ, which had powerful clout everywhere thanks to its nationwide scheme to plant infiltrators in state institutions. The company branched into the mining sector with a gold mine in western Turkey and later made a foray into media by buying the Bugün newspaper in 2005. It was followed by more media purchases, including Kanaltürk TV and the establishment of Bugün TV. Some newspapers and TV stations were well-known mouthpieces for FETÖ before Turkey moved to shut them down.

He is currently sought by Turkish authorities for "managing a terror group, financing terrorism, embezzlement and spreading propaganda for a terror group." He was last seen in London and in 2018, a United Kingdom court rejected Turkey's extradition request for İpek.

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