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Turkish Red Crescent transferred donation from city subsidiary to controversial foundation

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The Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) has transferred a large donation from a municipal subsidiary to the controversial, pro-government Ensar Foundation, which came to public attention after the revelation of a sexual abuse case involving 45 children in 2016.

According to a report on the gazzetta9 news website, Kızılay transferred $7.925 million to the Ensar Foundation in 2017 for the construction of a dormitory, which would be run by the foundation.

The donation had been made by Başkentgaz, a subsidiary of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality responsible for the sale and distribution of natural gas in the Turkish capital city of Ankara.

According to a document obtained by the news website, Başkentgaz made an $8 million donation to Kızılay on Dec. 29, 2017 and wanted $75,000 of this money to be used by Kızılay and the rest transferred to the Ensar Foundation for dormitory construction.

Kızılay attracted widespread criticism for transferring the donation to the Ensar Foundation.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) party spokesperson Faik Öztrak described Kızılay’s move as “scandalous.”

“The transfer of money to the Ensar Foundation from Kızılay — and this being done from a natural gas company — is a scandal. Why are you making things so complicated? Why can’t you directly transfer any money to the Ensar Foundation? Because you can’t do it legally. What has been done is a circumvention of the law,” he said.

In March 2016 Turkey was shaken by news of a child abuse scandal in the central province of Karaman. As many as 45 boys were abused by a male teacher in houses operated by the Ensar Foundation in the province.

Following the eruption of the scandal, many government officials made statements in defense of the Ensar Foundation, describing the incident as an “isolated” one. None of them called on the Ensar Foundation to give an accounting of the incident.

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