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Turkey arrests top media executive over Gulen 'terror' links

The arrest has triggered concern a post-coup crackdown may spread to Turkey's top companies [AFP]

Date of publication: 16 December, 2016

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Fears that Turkey's post-coup Gulen-linked crackdown is spreading to major companies have been raised after a top executive at Dogan Holdings was arrested on "terror" charges.

A top executive of a major Turkish media company has been formally arrested as part of the post-coup probe into suspected mastermind Fethullah Gulen.

Authorities have remanded Barbaros Muratoglu of Dogan Holding in custody on suspicion of "aiding a terror group", state-run Anadolu news agency said, referring to the exiled Muslim cleric and his followers.

The arrest comes a day after Human Rights Watch condemned Turkey's crackdown on independent media, accusing the government of preventing any scrutiny or criticism of its post-coup investigation, which has so far seen nearly 41,000 people arrested.

Dogan Holding, which includes the country's largest media group, said on 1 December that Muratoglu was being investigated, triggering concern that a post-coup crackdown may spread to the country's top companies.

Dogan's Hurriyet newspaper reported his formal arrest on its website on Friday. Officials from the group were not immediately available to comment, Reuters reported.

Dogan also has interests in the energy, finance and tourism sectors. Its media arm has been compared to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation because of its strong influence over broadcast and print media in Turkey.

Since the failed putsch on July 15, authorities have detained or dismissed more than 100,000 people in the police, judiciary and civil service and formally arrested nearly 41,000.

Nearly 600 companies have been also seized, many of them smaller provincial firms, over links to Gulen.

The cleric, a former ally turned political foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has denied involvement in the coup.

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