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Pro-Erdoğan foundation has received over €700,000 in EU funds since 2020

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The Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), an organization close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, has received more than 700,000 euros in European Union Erasmus funds for 16 projects since 2020, investigative journalist Metin Cihan has revealed.

Cihan shared a list of 12 projects in a tweet on May 19. The list shows that the largest amount, €247,904, was awarded to a project on NGOs, with other projects given funds between 24,000 and 86,000 euros.

Cihan further disclosed on X on Tuesday that TÜGVA was given 24,479 euros in total for four projects between 2021 and 2023 that were carried out within the scope of the European Solidarity Corps, managed by the European Commission.

The projects are titled “European Solidarity Corps Volunteering Project” (€9,979), “Gençler için AB: İmkan ve Fırsatlar” (EU for Young People: Opportunities and Possibilities) (€5,000), Kariyer Planlama Eğitimleri (Career Planning Training) (€5,500) and STK Kapasite Güçlendirme, Dayanışma ve Proje Yönetimi Eğitimi (Capacity Building, Solidarity and Project Management Training for NGOs) (€4,000).

Cihan initially revealed over the weekend that pro-government foundations such as TÜGVA; the Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV); the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), a pro-government Turkish think tank; and the Önder Foundation of Science, Culture and Social Services have received millions of euros from EU funds.

The journalist said the organizations that receive EU funds in Turkey include state broadcaster TRT and the World Ethnosport Confederation, which promotes traditional sports and is headed by President Erdoğan’s son, Bilal Erdoğan. According to Cihan, these foundations have utilized EU funds for various projects.

Cihan had previously noted that the EU is funding projects of foundations and think tanks that support Erdoğan and the AKP government, despite the administration’s tough stance on journalists and rights advocates who use funds from abroad. Pro-government foundations benefit from the very funds they criticize when used by independent media and NGOs, according to the journalist.

Turkey, which has been suffering from a poor record of freedom of the press for years, ranks 158th among 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index published on May 3 on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day.

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