It has recently came to light that 52 million Turkish Liras worth of donations ($9 million) collected in the aftermath of a twin bomb attack outside a football stadium in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district in December of 2016, were transferred to the Solidarity with Martyrs’ Relatives and Veterans Foundation of Turkey, which was established after the failed coup attempt of July 2016.
This foundation had previously hit the headlines after the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) announced that they could not find anyone working at the foundation’s declared address. The CHP had undertaken such an investigation to see if the donations that were transferred to the foundation were properly used. The Turkish authorities had previously announced that the foundation had received 309 million liras worth of donations that were made to help the families of people killed and injured during the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.
The whereabouts of the donations collected for the families of 46 people killed on Dec. 10, 2016 in Beşiktaş came to light after Salim Akbaş, one of the victim’s father, asked the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services as well as the Presidency’s Communication Center (CİMER) what had happened to the donations, daily Sözcü reported on Nov. 29.
The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services said in its answer: “It has been seen more appropriate for it [the money] to be given to the Solidarity with Martyrs’ Relatives and Veterans Foundation of Turkey.”
CHP Group Deputy Chair Engin Altay said it was “unlawful” for the donations in question to be transferred to a foundation that has a “fake address” and whose executives are not known to the public.
The CHP deputy said that despite three years having passed since the Beşiktaş twin bomb attack, the donations had not still reached the victims’ families.
Altay also said that the Akbaş family was put on a monthly salary of only 125 liras for the loss of their 19-year-old son Berkay Akbaş. “This is a disgrace. The use of the donations for all of the martyr’s relatives and veterans [in Turkey] instead of them being used for the ones who directly suffered [due to the attack in question] is an unlawful method that has been invented by the AKP,” Altay said, referring to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The Solidarity with Martyrs’ Relatives and Veterans Foundation of Turkey was established on Dec. 24, 2017, for the donations collected in the aftermath of the failed July 2016 coup attempt to be put into an efficient use.
But, a mystery revolves around the foundation as the CHP deputies determined that no one works at the foundation’s declared address in Ankara, filing a criminal complaint regarding this issue.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had addressed this issue during a TV program on Nov. 21.
“Two years ago, the minister said that 309 million liras was collected. Now, we are asking: How much money are we talking about here? We cannot get any answers about this money. We found the address of the foundation and went there. There is no such a foundation at that address. Where is this address cited? It is cited in a court verdict. Who misinformed the court? The political power-holders did. If I were a judge, I would arrest the ones who misinformed me. This money needs to be clarified,” Kılıçdaroğlu had said while answering the questions of İsmail Küçükkaya from Fox TV.