Pro-Erdoğan foundation admits authenticity of documents confirming its infiltration into state

The head of Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), an Islamist foundation with close ties to President Erdoğan, has admitted that documents confirming the organization's infiltration into the state were authentic. In an interview with journalist Cüneyt Özdemir, Enis Eminoğlu said that the documents were leaked from inside the organization.

TÜGVA executives, including Bilal Erdoğan, are seen at the opening ceremony of an office in Ankara in 2019.

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The head of Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), an Islamist foundation which has President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son Bilal Erdoğan on its advisory board, has admitted the authenticity of documents confirming the foundation's close ties to the state.

In his remarks to journalist Cüneyt Özdemir on a YouTube program on Oct. 13, Enis Eminoğlu said that the documents were leaked from the inside. “This man has taken these documents from the inside, leaked them, made copies of them and is now exposing them,” said Eminoğu.

The TÜGVA head also admitted that the documents shared by journalist Metin Cihan were partially true. “It is alleged that the documents exposed by Mr. Metin belong to us. There are places that have been arranged by himself; there is also correct information on them. They have been taken from our system,” he said.

Eminoğlu's comments came just a day after he initially denied the authenticity of the documents and called them fake. “The target of this new plot operation is not just TÜGVA,” Eminoğlu said in a video on Oct. 12, shortly after the release of the documents.

Journalist Cihan on Oct. 12 shared several lists which he said were sent by a former TÜGVA member documenting how the Erdoğan-linked foundation has been using its influence to place affiliated people in government positions.

The lists include names of people affiliated with TÜGVA, their phone numbers, ID numbers, their university of graduation, the name of the ministries they would like to be appointed to, the dates of their interviews in these ministries and the name of their “references.” Among these references are people who are in the executive positions of the TÜGVA as well as former ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Mahmut Kaçar.

The former head of TÜGVA's Van branch in eastern Turkey, Tamer Özsoy, confirmed the foundation's influence within the state, saying that all of the allegations were true.

“As someone who previously held an executive position in TÜGVA, I, unfortunately, say that they are all true,” said Özsoy in a tweet on Oct. 13, adding that the leaked documents were just what is seen on the surface.

Özsoy also gave an interview to the Mezopotamya news agency saying that he previously saw many people being hired to the Presidential Palace with “references” of people linked to TÜGVA. “These are just what is seen on the surface. During interviews in Ankara [for state positions], people [applicants] are asked whether they have contacts in TÜGVA, KADEM,” Özsoy said, referring to the Women and Democracy Organisation (KADEM), whose vice president is Sümeyye Erdoğan, the daughter of President Erdoğan.

Bilal Erdoğan on Oct. 13 also commented on the leaked documents, referring to them as “slander” and saying that TÜGVA was “picked on” because “they are jealous of it.”

Addressing the youth during an event of the AKP-run Çorum Municipality, Bilal Erdoğan asked, “They are picking on TÜGVA, do you know why?” Erdoğan then went on to answer the question himself saying: “Why is it not suiting them? They are jealous of it right?”