November 29, 2016 / 4:10 PM / a year ago

Germany's ECE pulls out of Turkish shopping-mall contract

FRANKFURT, Nov 29 (Reuters) - German project-management firm ECE has given up running an Istanbul shopping centre after the Turkish government seized the mall from its owner, whom it suspected of links to sympathisers of Fethullah Gulen, it said on Tuesday.

Turkey has taken control of a bank, several media firms and other enterprises as part of a crackdown on companies it accuses of sympathising with Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric the government blamed for July 15’s failed coup.

Hamburg-based ECE, Europe’s largest operator of inner-city shopping centres, said it had had no option but to give up the contract to manage the Modern East mall after it was taken over by an administrator to be put up for sale.

“It simply made no sense for us to continue to operate the mall,” the head of ECE’s Turkish operations, Andreas Hohlmann, was quoted as saying by German trade magazine TextilWirtschaft, which first reported the development.

Gulen, whom Turkey wants extradited from the United States, has denied involvement in the coup attempt. (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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