November 5, 2015

Koza İpek lawyers challenge appointment of trustees to holding

Lawyers representing Koza İpek Holding on Thursday petitioned the Ankara 5th Penal Court of Peace against the court's decision to appoint a panel of trustees to the group, saying that the decision has no grounding in law and so must be repealed.

In a controversial move, the Ankara 5th Penal Court of Peace ruled for the appointment of trustees to Koza İpek Holding in late October to replace the existing board of directors.

Koza İpek Holding comprises 22 companies, including the Kanaltürk and Bugün TV channels, the Millet and Bugün dailies, İpek University and a number of other subsidiaries.

The holding's lawyers Hakan Yıldız and Efsun Ünal said in the petition that the expert report used as grounds to appoint trustees to the holding lacks legality, adding that the expert who prepared the report, Professor Şafak Ertan Çomaklı, is not an impartial figure, hence the report also lacks objectivity.

The lawyers said the companies belonging to Koza İpek Holding have been supervised by public audit institutions such as the Finance Ministry's Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) and its Tax Inspection Council Administration, as well as the Capital Markets Board (SPK), Social Security Institution (SGK) over the past two years -- and that despite all these institutions, except for MASAK, having completed their reports, they found no criminal activity in the companies.

The report also said Professor Çomaklı, the author of the expert report that was used as the basis for the appointment of a board of trustees to take over the management of Koza İpek Holding companies, was convicted of fraud in 2007, hence is not legally authorized to have the status of an expert.

Çomaklı, who currently heads the Forensic Science Institute at the Police Academy, and an accomplice whom he tried to pass off as his uncle were sentenced to serve two years and one month in jail for fraud after a criminal court in Kütahya upheld a complaint from a local academic against them.

The report also made reference to Çomaklı's "marginal and aggressive" messages against the anti-government groups on social media, saying that it is impossible for such a person to write an objective report.

Hence, the lawyers called on the Ankara court to repeal its decision to implement the trustees, saying that it violates the Turkish Constitution, Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK) and European Court of Human Rights.

Published on Today's Zaman, 5 November 2015, Thursday