Turkish parliament votes down proposal for parliamentary inquiry into AKP-linked foundations

Turkish parliament on Oct 20 voted down the main opposition CHP's motion to establish a parliamentary investigation commission to look into government-funded foundations. The motion was filed after it came out to light that Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), an Islamist foundation with close ties to President Erdoğan, has been using its influence to place affiliated people in government positions.

This file photo shows Bilal Erdoğan and TÜGVA executives during an opening ceremony.

Duvar English

The main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) motion suggesting the formation of a parliamentary investigation commission probing government-funded foundations was turned down in parliament on Oct. 20 after weeks of brawls over said non-governmental organizations. 

The Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), an Islamist foundation which has President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son Bilal Erdoğan on its advisory board, came into question in particular as the organization was revealed to have used its influence to grant its members government appointments. 

After the TÜGVA corruption scandal broke out, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said he was making his final call on bureaucrats to stop carrying out illegal affairs within state offices. 

"You are the public officers of this state and not the Erdoğan family," he said, noting that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will lose power and all illegal practices will be brought to court afterwards. 

"This is my final warning to you. You will be held responsible for the support you give to this order's illegal wishes as of Monday, Oct. 18. You can't save yourself from these dirty businesses by saying that you received orders," Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

The main opposition chair's remarks were slammed by multiple AKP officials, including Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who accused Kılıçdaroğlu of trying to cover up his "incompetence" by "yelling like drunks."

Most recently, news broadcaster Halk TV reported that parliament voted down the CHP motion demanding a parliamentary investigation into non-profit organizations such as TÜGVA. 

The AKP and its junior coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) hold the majority in parliament. 

"They are bothered about people trying to raise a youth who identify with national and emotional values, but we're sorry that we will continue to bother you," said AKP lawmaker Hulusi Şentürk at parliament. 

Şentürk also claimed that the main opposition's concern with government-funded organizations stemmed from the AKP's crackdown on Kurdish municipalities by assigning trustee mayors to replace the elected Kurdish mayors. 

Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) group deputy chair Meral Danış Beştaş also took the stage, drawing attention to TÜGVA's influence within the state structures. 

"We don't know if TÜGVA raises a youth owning up to national and emotional values, but we do know that TÜGVA robs the whole youth of their right to education, employment and equal access to resources," she said. 

Beştaş also said that TÜGVA was interrupting access to opportunities, as the foundation is known to have been the favored recipient of state tenders, a common method employed by the AKP to funnel public funds into private hands. 

TÜGVA's infiltration into the state has been likened by the opposition to how the followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen assumed positions within the state preceding the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

"We are all watching how TÜGVA is getting organized within the state, and how the government is allowing for the establishment of a sub-state," said CHP lawmaker Orhan Sümer at parliament. 

"We all paid the price of handing over state affairs to sects, to handing subgroup privileges during the July 15 [coup]. Unfortunately, the AKP government doesn't seem to have learned their lesson."