November 26, 2015

AK Party continues to replace workers at seized firms with loyalists

The panel of trustees appointed to Kaynak Holding and Koza İpek Holding as part of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government-backed operations is continuing to dismiss employees, firing 26 more on Wednesday and recruiting government supporters.

The trustees appointed to Kaynak Holding decided last week to make it possible for the new board to dismiss any of the holding's 8,056 employees. “The panel has authorized the executive board manager and his deputy to cancel labor contracts of all holding employees, cancel service contracts with earlier partners, hire new workers and dismiss all of the managers in all units if found necessary,” the trustees' decision read.

Seventeen more employees were fired recently by the trustees at Kaynak Holding, signaling the start of a possible purging policy resembling that pursued at İpek Koza Holding. Turkish media have reported that pro-government individuals from AK Party youth branches have been hired by the trustees. The reports also state that the security guards working at the Kaynak Holding headquarters were replaced by new ones who are closely affiliated with the AK Party.

In a controversial move last week, an İstanbul court ruled to appoint seven trustees to manage 21 companies under Kaynak Holding, which has been a target of the government due to its deemed affiliation with the Hizmet movement, also known as the Gülen movement, a grassroots initiative inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

The trustees fired nine people from the Bugün daily on Wednesday, adding to the dozens of others who have already been dismissed after the seizure. The fired journalists received a document sent by the panel of trustees saying that they had been fired because of their disrespectful behavior toward the trustees.

Twenty-two companies under Koza İpek Holding have been under administrative receivership since late last month, when an Ankara court ruled that Koza was suspected of financing terrorism. The decision has been widely criticized as the latest example of public pressure imposed by the government on dissident voices and business owners.

Published on Today's Zaman, 26 November 2015, Thursday