An infamous foundation that made headlines after receiving a bountiful donation through Turkish Red Crescent defended itself by saying that the money in question is being used for the struggle against the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
In a written statement, the Ensar Foundation said that dormitories are being built in the U.S. with the 7,925,000 dollars received from the Ankara-based natural gas distribution company Başkent Gaz through the aid organization.
“Our foundation perceives contributing to the struggle of our people and the state against FETÖ in all areas as a civil society responsibility. It works with all its power to prevent FETÖ elements from bothering the children of this nation both in the country and abroad,” Ensar Foundation General Manager Hüseyin Kader said, referring to the official name of the Gülenist organization – the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization.
The Ensar Foundation was at the center of a scandal in 2016 after a teacher working in its branch in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman was convicted of sexually abusing 10 male school children aged 10-12 from 2012 and 2015.
The foundation’s reputation has not been recovered ever since the incident.
The Turkish Red Crescent’s donations to the foundation have been among the most discussed topics in the country since the news website gazetta9 reported on Jan. 28 that Başkent Gaz donated eight million dollars to Turkish Red Crescent on Dec. 27, 2017, which was followed by the aid organization transferring 7,925,000 dollars of the said donation to the Ensar Foundation.
All donations made to Turkish Red Crescent are tax deductible. Başkent Gaz, which was purchased by Torunlar GYO – a company with close ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) – has reportedly made nearly 1.5 million dollars of tax advantage via recording eight million dollars as expenses.
In his statement, Kader also said that the foundation led the establishment of the “Turken Foundation” in the U.S. with the Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV) – another foundation close to the AKP – in 2014.
“A dormitory project that would provide a shelter safe from the grip of FETÖ for our youth that went to the U.S. for education and training purposes was brought to life by the Türken Foundation,” he said, adding that Türken purchased land in Manhattan to build a 21-storey dormitory.
“The dormitory is set to be completed in two years and 12 floors were completed. The costs of land and construction are covered by our foundations’ resources and donations,” Kader also said.
Branding the recent reports as “slanders,” Kader noted that the donation was made in a legal framework.
“We know that the aim of these slanderers and ill-intentioned individuals is to wear the Red Crescent out and to target the Ensar Foundation,” he said, adding that the foundation doesn’t have a “secret agenda.”
As the debates around the issue have been ongoing, the foundation’s website was shut down due to “an attack on its servers.”
“Our web servers have been under intense attack since yesterday,” the foundation said on Jan. 31.