A counter-terrorism investigation was launched Tuesday into Koza Ipek Holding, a conglomerate with interests in the media, energy, construction and mining, police said.
The group of 23 companies is accused of providing financial support to and disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization, a police source said on condition of anonymity. However, sources at the Ankara prosecutor’s office told Anadolu Agency that the raids had not targeted any of Koza Ipek’s media outlets.
The number of people arrested increased to 7 and an arrest warrant issued for Akin Ipek, the group's chairman, who the source said was thought to be in the U.K. Those detained were referred to the court Wednesday.
Police from Ankara’s organized crime branch carried out raids across the capital as part of an investigation into the corporation’s alleged links to what officials describe as the Gulenist Terror Organization -- the movement led by U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen that the government accuses of plotting to overthrow the Turkish state.
During searches police confiscated documents and computers.
In a statement published in the group’s Bugun newspaper on Monday, Ipek said that his companies were being audited by the Finance Ministry's Financial Crimes Investigation Board.
However, sources told Anadolu Agency that Ipek left Turkey two days before the investigation was launched against his companies. His private jet reportedly touched down at London Luton Airport late Sunday.
Koza Ipek was founded in 1948 by Akin Ipek’s father Ali as a printing company. Among its media holdings are the Bugun and Kanalturk television stations and daily newspapers Bugun and Millet.
Concerns about the Gulen movement, which the government accuses of infiltrating state institutions, stem from recordings that surfaced in December 2013 that led to corruption investigations against former senior government figures.