Jail time sought for two in Erdoğan-linked foundation data leak

Turkish prosecutors are seeking jail time for journalist Cihan Yücel and an alleged informant for publishing files exposing corruption within the Youth Foundation of Turkey (TÜGVA), an Islamist foundation with close ties to President Erdoğan.

TÜGVA executives, including Bilal Erdoğan, are seen at the opening ceremony of an office in this file photo.

Duvar English

Turkish prosecutors are seeking up to six and 10.5 years in prison for respectively journalist Cihan Yücel and alleged informant and provincial sports directorate employee Ramazan Aydoğdu over charges of leaking internal documents of the Youth Foundation of Turkey (TÜGVA), an Islamist foundation which has President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son Bilal Erdoğan on its advisory board. 

The documents revealed widespread corruption within the organization, including the streamlining of Foundation members into high-ranking, highly-paid government roles, as well as the extensive aid and property granted to the organization from the government. 

Ramazan Aydoğdu was arrested on Nov. 24, 2021, shortly after the documents were leaked, and an arrest warrant was issued for Cihan Yücel on Nov. 22. Yücel lives abroad and is considered by the government as a fugitive. 

Aydoğdu was arrested after the Istanbul Police Department Information Technologies and Communications Branch Directorate allegedly found that he had been using his position to access internal TÜGVA documents, keep copies of them in his house, and share them on social media. 

He was detained on Nov. 19, when his house was searched and 3 mobile phones, 37 flash drives, 3 laptop computers, 1 tablet computer, and 4 CDs were seized from his possession. It is believed that the documents were sourced from computers used by TÜGVA's Murat Aydın, Erkan İnce, Suat Kır and Enes Eminoğlu, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the foundation. 

Indictment files state that Aydoğdu accessed the files without permission or consent. Prosecutors also say that he changed and manipulated the files before sharing them with Yücel. The prosecution claims that the two men acted in unison. 

A sentence with a minimum of three years and nine months and a maximum of ten years and six months has been requested for Aydoğdu for the crime of "corrupting data in the IT system, destroying it, making it inaccessible, or placing data on the system" and "unlawfully seizing or spreading personal data.”

Three to six years in prison for the crime of "unlawfully obtaining or disseminating personal data” has been requested for Yücel.