İsmail Çolak, owner of the famous İsmail’in Yeri (İsmail’s Place) grill restaurant in the northwestern Turkish province of Bolu, was put in pre-trial detention by a Düzce court over his alleged links to the Gülen group.
According to Turkish media, Çolak’s restaurant, located on Bolu Mountain and a popular spot with travelers, was closed down following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016. A Turkish court subsequently issued a detention warrant for the businessman as part of a massive crackdown launched by the Turkish government on the Gülen group, which is accused of masterminding the attempt.
It was reported that Çolak left Turkey six months before the coup attempt and had been living in Poland since then. The businessman reportedly told Turkish authorities that he wanted to turn himself in and become an informant. After his request was approved, Çolak returned to Turkey and was detained at İstanbul Ataturk Airport and then transferred to Düzce where he appeared before a judge and was arrested on charges of membership in a terrorist organization and aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.
Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 50,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.