Turkish police arrested Friday at least 42 suspects as part of an ongoing investigation into Bank Asya, an Islamic lender affiliated with Fetullah Terrorist Organization.
Arrests came after Istanbul’s Anadolu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 78 suspects including former executives of the bank, which was allegedly used by the terrorist group to transfer money — collected as charitable donations from followers of FETÖ-leader Fetullah Gülen — to organizations in the U.S, according to a police source, speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The suspects, who were arrested in Istanbul-based operations launched in seven provinces by Istanbul Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit, are accused of being members of and financing a terrorist organization, the source said.
Turkey thanks Tunisia for closing FETÖ-linked school
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has acknowledged Tunisia’s support for Turkey following the defeated coup of July 2016, saying the North African country has also shut down a school linked with the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).According to the Turkish government, FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.Speaking at joint news conference with his Tunisian counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui in Ankara on Thursday, Cavusoglu said Tunisia was now taking steps to shut down another FETÖ-linked school.He said FETÖ was not only a threat to Turkey but to every country where the organization operates.”One FETÖ-related school has been shut down [in Tunisia]. The decision on another school has also been taken and now it is in the implementation phase. I am very thankful for all this support,” Cavusoglu said.Jhinaoui also thanked Turkey for supporting Tunisia during the 2011 revolution.”They supported us not only verbally, but they also gave us great material support,” he said.Tunisia was the birthplace of the “Arab Spring” uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa in early 2011.President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accepted Tunisian President Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi’s invitation to visit Tunisia, Jhinaoui said following his meeting with the Turkish head of state.
Operations are ongoing to arrest the remaining 36 suspects.
Bank Asya’s banking license was cancelled on July 22, 2016 — seven days after the failed coup bid — by Turkey’s Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK). The banking watchdog had ruled for the complete takeover of all shares of the Islamic lender by the state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund in May 2015.
Turkey accuses FETÖ of having plotted the deadly July 15 coup attempt last year as well as having led a clandestine parallel state to undermine the Turkish government.