Charity NGO counting Turkish PM’s son as board member received $99,999,990 in donations: Deputy PM
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Deputy PM Arınç disclosed the amount of donations made to TÜRGEV in a written official statement. AA PhotoThe Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV), a charity NGO counting Bilal Erdoğan, the son of the prime minister, among its board members has received $99,999,900 of aid from abroad between 2008 and 2012, Deputy PM Bülent Arınç stated.
In a written statement issued as a response to a parliamentary question from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Arınç said associations were bound to disclose their donations in a mandatory “annual declaration” delivered to the Directorate of Foundations.
“From the examinations of the records it appeared that individual and institutional donations to TÜRGEV from Aug. 27, 2008, from within Turkey totals 29,666,533 Turkish Liras and from abroad $99,999,990,” the statement released by Arınç said. He also indicted that the declaration related to the donations for 2013 was not available yet. TÜRGEV has been under fire since the Dec. 17, 2013 graft probes, as many allegations dealt with the activities of the foundation.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself had claimed after the probes that the “operation” was targeting him through his son’s activities at TÜRGEV.
Arınç, however, did not disclose the entities that made the donations as it was also requested to in the parliamentary question.
The Directorate of Foundations is an independent institution under the Deputy Prime Minister Arınç’s responsibility.
AKP downplays donation, compares TÜRGEV with ÇYDD
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy chair Hüseyin Çelik downplayed the donation made to TÜRGEV, arguing that suggesting the donation was tantamount to “corruption” would not be fair.
“This donation is $100,000. There are many foundations and associations in Turkey. And the amount which they can receive as a donation is defined. What is [TÜRGEV] doing? It is building dormitories for the schooling of girls,” Çelik, also the spokesperson for the party, said at a press conference April 10.
He also justified TÜRGEV’s situation by comparing it to the Support for Contemporary Life Association (ÇYDD).
“Can ÇYDD receive aid from abroad? Yes, it can,” Çelik said, referring to a nongovernmental organization that mainly works for female children’s education and is known for its vehement attachment to secularity.
“If what is done is not a return for an expectation, showing it as corruption is not fair. [The donation] came through Vakıfbank. The issue is this clear,” Çelik said.