Erdoğan-linked foundation received 1.2 million lira from Istanbul municipality - report

An Istanbul-based archery foundations, whose board of trustees include Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son, Bilal Erdoğan,  received 1.2 million lira ($210,000) in aid from the city’s Metropolitan Municipality in the first half of this year, left-wing newspaper Sözcü reported on Wednesday.

The approval for the grant provided to the Okçular (Archers) Foundation, which aims to promote traditional archery and train competitive archers in Turkey, was based on a six-month agreement between the two organisations, it said.

Mevlüt Uysal, the former Istanbul mayor of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), who preceded opposition mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, approved the payment, according to Sözcü.

The AKP has come under increasing criticism for allegedly providing large sums of money to party-affiliated foundations and associations over the 25 years of the Islamist party rule in Turkey’s financial hub.

Since stepping into office in June, Istanbul mayor İmamoğlu has vowed to place the municipality’s past extravagant spending under the spotlight. 

Sözcü earlier this year reported that Istanbul spent almost 848 million lira ($151 million) to support foundations, associations, and schools during 2017 and 2018, with the largest share (74.3 million lira, or $14 million) going to the Turkey Youth Foundation, TUGVA, another foundation Bilal Erdoğan sits on the board of. 

The İBB has provided $146 million to AKP-affiliated foundations and associations over the years, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported in April, citing a leaked internal report.