NGO with Erdogan's Son as Board Member Received USD 100 M
A charity NGO of which Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan's son Bilal is a board member received USD 100 M of foreign donations between 2008 and 2012.
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc made the announcement in a written statement in which he responded to a parliamentary question from the opposition People's Republican Party (CHP), Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Arinc did not reveal which entities made the EUR 72 M donations to the charity called TURGEV, as he did not have the right to do so under Turkish law.
He could therefore neither confirm nor deny the opposition MP's allegations that the money came from the Middle East. This gave some MPs ground to raise suspicions of "corruption". The CHP's leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu was even quoted by the Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung as saying that TURGEV foundation was "a money laundering scheme".
Despite the CHP and media's fervent reaction, no wrongdoing was proved by Arinc's announcement.
The Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TURGEV), however, emerged in the spotlight in December 2013, when it turned out that graft probes in a corruption scandal which shocked parts of Turkish society were targeting the foundation.
Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan earlier suggested that the TURGEV affair was actually targeting him through his son.
Both the Prime Minister and his inner circle have recently been exposed to a number of scandals after wiretapped recordings, alleging involvement in corruption and administrative abuse, started to appear online.
A tapped conversation between him and his son purportedly revealed how Bilal's father gave him advice on ways to dispose of large sums of money, but the recording was dismissed by government officials as "montage".
Its authenticity has not been confirmed so far. Development Party (AKP) refuted claims that the donation was tantamount to corruption.
The AKP's Deputy Chairman Huseyin Celik said that TURGEV was just "building dormitories for the schooling of girls" and thus can be compared to another charity, Support for Contemporary Life Association (CYDD), which in his words also can receive "aid from abroad".
CYDD, a prominent "secular" NGO, has its focus on female children's education.
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