Anadolu Kültür, a nonprofit cultural organization founded by jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala, has rejected the Trade Ministry's “unlawful” lawsuit seeking its closure.
“For the first time in the history of the Republic of Turkey, a lawsuit is filed against a company on the grounds that it 'carries out its activities without profit, similar to associations and foundations,'” Anadolu Kültür said in a statement on Feb. 16.
The company said that it has carried out all its operations legally and transparently since its establishment in 2002 and no crime has been detected in the investigation of Turkey's Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK).
“The lawsuit filed despite all this is unlawful. The allegations made by some media outlets within the scope of the case are deliberate, some of which are not even stated in the relevant file,” it said.
This is our obligatory announcement to the public regarding the lawsuit for annulment “created” for Anadolu Kültür and related news propagated in media.— Anadolu Kültür (@anadolu_kultur) February 16, 2021
For our information note 👉https://t.co/7FVm0c6pDM
For our detailed information note in Turkish 👉https://t.co/oOHM06U0Rp pic.twitter.com/QkoPWs2IVJ
In August, Turkey's Trade Ministry filed a lawsuit against Anadolu Kültür with a demand for its closure, citing its operation as an NGO, even though the organization is registered as a company.
The case surfaced after pro-government newspaper Yeni Şafak reported on the issue last week, claiming that there were certain irregularities in the operation of Anadolu Kültür.
Yeni Şafak's report came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted Kavala in a speech on Feb. 5 and referred to him as a “representative” of George Soros in Turkey.
Kavala, who has been behind bars since 2017, was acquitted a year ago of charges related to 2013 Gezi Park protests, but was immediately rearrested on charges relating to a failed 2016 coup. An appeals court subsequently overturned his acquittal on the protest charges.
Earlier in February, a court ruled to combine the two outstanding cases and rejected Kavala’s request to be released.