Erdoğan-linked foundation head attacks Istanbul mayor's war on funding foundations

Fatmanur Altun, the wife of the Turkish president’s communications director and the chairwoman of a foundation with close ties to the government, has slammed Istanbul mayor's efforts to stop the use of municipal resources for funding government-affiliated groups.

"History will not forgive those who made these mistakes, and the conscience of our nation will sooner or later call them to account. The fate of those who attack the foundations will not be auspicious for them," TÜRGEV chairwoman said in an article for Turkish magazine Kriterdergi.

Istanbul's new mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu promised during the recent local election run that the public resources would not be used for funding government-affiliated foundations.

Since then, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality annulled agreements with six educational and religious foundations following reports showing that the previous AKP municipality had spent 357 million lira ($ 61.2 million) to date from its municipal budget on those foundations alone.

Earlier reports revealed that Istanbul municipality spent almost 848 million lira ($151 million) in total to support foundations, associations, and schools during 2017 and 2018 under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

TÜRGEV, one of the major beneficiaries of the financial support, was also formerly directed by Bilal Erdoğan, Erdoğan's son, and in December 2013 a series of leaks alleged he had been involved in large scale corruption at the foundation, which the reports said had received sizable donations that went straight to the president’s son.

The investigation into the corruption charges abruptly stopped in 2014, after the AKP government transferred prosecutors and judges involved in the graft probe. The AKP government said these had been transferred due to their links to an outlawed religious organisation, the Gülen movement.

Altun said İmamoğlu's efforts to cut the funding for foundations were similar to attacks against the AKP during 2013 corruption probe and equal to being in cahoots with the Gülen movement.

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