ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish authorities have seized or appointed an administrator to 965 companies with total annual sales of some 21.9 billion lira (£4.7 billion) in the year since an attempted coup in July 2016, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Friday.
Under the emergency rule imposed after the coup, Turkish authorities took control of companies suspected of having links to followers of Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based Muslim cleric blamed by Ankara for the failed military takeover.
The 965 companies under state management control, based in 43 provinces across Turkey, have assets totalling some 41 billion lira and employ 46,357 people, Canikli said in a written statement.
Turkey took control of a bank, industrial companies and media firms as part of the crackdown on companies accused of links to Gulen. He has denied involvement in the putsch.
Apart from the business crackdown, Turkey has jailed more than 50,000 people pending trial and suspended or dismissed some 150,000, including soldiers, police officers, teachers and civil servants, over alleged links with terrorist groups.
The purge has alarmed Turkey’s Western allies and human rights groups, who say President Tayyip Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to muzzle dissent, a charge he denies.
Ten people including Amnesty International’s Turkey director and other rights activists were detained this week on suspicion of membership of a terrorist organisation, Amnesty said on Thursday, in what it called a “grotesque abuse of power”.
The government has said the security measures are necessary because of the gravity of the threats facing Turkey, which is also battling Kurdish and Islamist militants. More than 240 people were killed in last year’s coup attempt.
(Reporting by Ebru Tuncay; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Gareth Jones)