Pro-gov’t businessman accused of Gülen links may face investigation

Turkish businessman Fettah Tamince, who has faced trial for links to a religious group Ankara says orchestrated the July 2016 coup attempt, may be facing a new investigation on the same charges. 

The Turkish Ministry of Justice has objected to a court ruling on the owner of the Rixos hotels chain, effectively opening the way for another investigation against Tamince, the Independent Turkish reported on Wednesday.

The ministry objected to a non-prosecution decision by a court in Turkey’s southern province of Adana against Tamince and nine others, who are accused of providing financial aid to the Gülen movement, it said.

The government blames the Gülen movement, a former ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), for the failed coup attempt in July 2016 and has designated the group a terrorist organisation. Ankara maintains the Gülen movement was behind the failed putsch and a long-running scheme to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

The ball is now in the court of the Supreme Court of Appeals, who will decide on whether 47-year-old Tamince will face another investigation over links to the group, the Independent said. 

Tamince, widely believed to have ties to the leader of the Gülen movement, Fethullah Gülen, on the one hand, has also been accused of failing to declare his revenues or pay corporate taxes for over a decade due to his close ties to Turkey’s ruling AKP, on the other. 

The move by the ministry arrives amid widespread reports of cracks in Turkey’s ruling AKP, including opposition in the party to the rising influence of a clique referred to as "Pelicanists,’’ known for aggressive media tactics and influence among senior AKP officials.

Tamince is reportedly close to the "Pelicanists,’’ so the news of the ministry’s intervention was described by some commentators in Turkish media as a riposte by Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, who faced criticism from alleged members of the clique this week for not taking stern enough action against Gülenists.