ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s Koza Ipek Holding, linked to a U.S.-based cleric accused of plotting against President Tayyip Erdogan, was raided again on Wednesday by police seeking financial documents, a company official and documents said.
A Turkish court issued the second search warrant this month, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.
It showed that the Ankara-based company’s units - Koza Altin and Koza Anadolu Metal - are being investigated on suspicion of “terror financing,” “terror propaganda” and other crimes related to Chairman Hamdi Akin Ipek’s alleged support for Fethullah Gulen, the Islamic preacher who was once an ally of Erdogan.
Erdogan has accused Gulen, now in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, of operating a “parallel structure” of supporters in the judiciary, police, media and other institutions that has operated against him. Gulen denies the charge.
Police are seeking balance sheets from Koza Altin, a gold firm, and miner Koza Anadolu Metal, according to the warrant.
Erdogan’s simmering dispute with Gulen rocked Turkey in December 2013 when Erdogan was prime minister. Police leaked details of a corruption probe into Erdogan’s family and cabinet ministers.
Since then, he has labelled Gulen’s following a “terrorist” organisation and has re-assigned thousands of members of the judiciary and police and sought to dismantle schools the movement runs.
“Since all of the information and documents were taken during the execution of the (first) search warrant, the search and seizure carried out today are without aim and legal basis,” Koza Ipek said in a statement.
Police had initially raided Koza Ipek’s offices on Sept. 1 to investigate alleged improprieties.. Istanbul-based Kaynak Holding, another company linked to Gulen’s Hizmet (Service) movement, was raided this week.
“It is an effort to undermine the company’s image and force a publicly traded company into loss. For more than a week, it has been unable to operate,” Erhan Basyurt, editor in chief of Bugun newspaper, which belongs to Koza Ipek, told Reuters.
Shares in group companies, which plunged after the initial raids, shrugged off the latest police searches. Gold company Koza Altin’s shares were up 1 percent and miner Koza Anadolu Metal was unchanged.
Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Toby Chopra