President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan granted tax exemption to yet another Islamist foundation, the leader of which previously defended female genital mutilation, the daily BirGün reported on Aug. 26.
Founded by fundamentalist cult leader Cevat Akşit, Gümüşhane Research Solidarity and Education Foundation (Gaye Foundation) was reportedly added to the government's list of tax-exempt foundations on Aug. 13.
The general director of the foundation, Selim Kılıç, said on social media that their tax exemption had been inked in a presidential decree, and thanked everyone who helped in the process.
Akşit has led a part of the Nakşibendi Cult since their leader and Akşit's father Mahmud Esad Coşan died in 2001, and founded Gaye Foundation in 1994, even though his son now chairs the organization.
Akşit is known for highly controversial statements where he has defended female genital mutilation to prevent women from going down a "wrong path."
Another controversial statement by the cult leader was that he said people should be reported to the police for kissing.
"The train was crowded, the guy had the girl in his lap. Kissing, squeezing her and whatnot. Report these people to police if you can't do anything else, they'll know what to do," Akşit had said.
Tax exemptions are one of the ways that the ruling AKP favors their allies financially, as they also favor associates with state tenders and direct funding of their organizations.