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Turkish Court Sentences Top Businessman’s Family

The brother and mother of a prominent Turkish businessman received long prison sentences on Thursday for membership of the group blamed for a failed coup in 2016, state media reported.

Businessman Akin Ipek headed the Koza-Ipek conglomerate before fleeing to Britain to escape prosecution.

He is accused of providing financial support to U.S.-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who denies accusations that he ordered the attempted putsch.

The Ankara court sentenced Ipek’s brother, Cafer Tekin Ipek, to more than 79 years in prison for a series of charges including being a member of an armed terrorist organization, according to state news agency Anadolu.

Their mother, Melek Ipek, was sentenced to 11 years and eight months on similar charges.

The court ordered their shares in the family conglomerate to be seized by the government.

Ipek’s company was targeted over its alleged links to Gulen even before the coup. He fled in 2015 to Britain, which last year rejected a Turkish extradition request.

His lawyers say the case, which involves a dozen more associates of Ipek, is politically motivated.

Gulen ran a large network of schools and charities that gave him huge influence across Turkish society and institutions. Tens of thousands have been arrested in the wake of the failed coup.

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