Soros's NGO hopes to continue fight for justice, human rights in Turkey - NYT
Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros's charitable organisation, which announced on Monday it was ending operations in Turkey, hopes to continue working with Turkish citizens despite the setback, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Open Society Foundations, which has a nearly $20 billion endowment and runs programmes focused on human rights, democracy, anti-discrimination, and justice in dozens of countries worldwide, said on Monday that "groundless claims and speculation" had made its work in Turkey impossible.
Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denounced the "famous Hungarian Jew Soros", accusing the billionaire philanthropist of supporting the 2013 anti-government Gezi protests in order to divide Turkey.
Laura Silber, a spokeswoman for Open Society, was unsure the organisation would be able to continue its work in Turkey after closing its Istanbul office, but hoped to do so.
“We are in a time of rising authoritarianism and closing space on civil society,” Silber told the U.S. news outlet. “This is not about the Open Society Foundations. This is a much bigger battle at play — the battle against free expression, against human rights and justice.”
Soros has been facing attacks in the United States and Europe. Last month, he was one of several critics of President Donald Trump who received explosive devices. In Hungary, the country of Soros's birth, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called him a traitor and forced Open Society to relocate from Budapest to Berlin.