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State-run bank blocked $135,000 in donations for coronavirus relief: İmamoğlu

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İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu on Thursday revealed that state-run Vakıfbank has blocked TL 900,000 ($135,000) that his municipality had raised as part of a campaign to cover people’s basic needs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Vakıfbank has blocked TL 900,000 donated by 2,100 contributors,” İmamoğlu tweeted.

İmamoğlu also announced that more than TL 6,500,000 has been collected in total from 12,604 donors.

“We are starting to support some 9,000 families in need for two months,” he tweeted.

The state-bank’s move to block municipal bank accounts came after the Interior Ministry on Tuesday intervened in municipal fundraising by releasing a circular which stated that such aid campaigns require permission from local governors.

Critics interpreted the move as an attempt by the government to obstruct opposition-held municipalities, most notably those of İstanbul and Ankara, after the central government launched its own “National Solidarity Campaign” to collect donations.

Some municipalities are preparing to legal action against the decision.

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