Investigation into these Turkish Islamist organizations that are filled with European funds | EUROtoday

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” NOT'Isn't it time for the West to decide which side it takes? » The question is asked by Can Dündar, a famous Turkish journalist threatened by Erdogan and who lives in exile in Germany, about his native country. Sentenced in Türkiye, in absentia, twenty-seven years in prison for “espionage”, the journalist denounces the double hypocrisy which characterizes relations between Turkey and the European Union. And, for him, the revelation of a new scandal involving the allocation of European funds to Turkish Islamist organizations close to the family of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a new illustration of this.

In mid-May, another Turkish journalist, also forced into exile, Metin Cihan, published an investigation into the allocation of European funds to Turkish organizations showing that pro-Erdogan structures managed to capture a good part of them. These revelations sparked an outcry among Turkish democrats. But very little reaction from the European side, a few days before the European elections.

Pro-regime and anti-European structures

The journalist, supported by the European Center for Press and Media Freedom, in Leipzig (Germany), notes that European money allocated to Turkey, a candidate country for the Union whose accession negotiations have been launched in 2005, benefits pro-regime and anti-European structures such as the public radio and television channel TRT, the think tank Seta, the Islamist humanitarian organization IHH, the Tugva and Tûrgev foundations and the federation of high schools of Quranic teaching in Turkey…

The TRT was, for example, awarded 400,000 euros. A few months ago, the state channel produced a documentary series, entitled True Colors, with the aim of “fighting gender theory” and “the propaganda of the LGBT lobby”. Its various channels faithfully reflect the ideological orientations decided by the Turkish presidency. And, during the last municipal elections, on March 31, Erdogan's speaking time on TRT was 78 times more than that of his main opponents!

The Turkish Youth Foundation (Tugva), headed by Bilal Erdogan, the president's son, has received no less than 700,000 euros in funds from the Erasmus program, for 16 projects, since 2020. Added to this are four funded projects by the European Solidarity Corps program of the European Commission since 2021. Tugva organizes “action camps” where young participants are recruited and encouraged to “do jihad”. Ironically, it was already because of revelations about this Islamist organization and its ramifications within the Turkish state that Metin Cihan was forced to flee Turkey. He was under threat of six years in prison.

Seta's highly controversial reports

The Turkish ethnosport federation, which promotes traditional sports, also headed by Bilal Erdogan, received 500,000 euros. The Seta Foundation, a “think tank” center created by Ibrahim Kalin, the current head of the Turkish intelligence services (MIT), was awarded 291,000 euros in funding for two projects launched at the beginning of 2024.

Organizing conferences and events to give a scientific stamp to the Turkish government's official positions, Seta publishes highly controversial reports. “Through events and publications, Seta strives to integrate official views into the social discourse of other European countries. In 2019, Seta published two reports in Turkish which served to put pressure on opponents of the Turkish government” exiled in Europe, the German federal government specified in a response to a parliamentary question from the FDP (Liberal Democratic Party), in 2020. These reports listed journalists critical of the regime who had taken refuge in Germany, designating them as targets of the government.

This scenario is sufficient to embarrass Turkish officers and European leaders alike. Dündar denounces each the hypocrisy of energy in Ankara and of “those who, in Turkey, accuse the beneficiaries of these Western funds of being traitors” whereas themselves making an attempt to profit from them. In latest years, funding from a European nation may lead to a corporation being accused of plotting towards the Turkish authorities.

But the Turkish journalist additionally factors out the hypocrisy of “certain foreign foundations supposed to support the fight for democracy” and which promote their marginalization. German MP of Turkish origin Gökay Akbulut (Die Linke celebration) known as for an finish to this European assist for anti-democratic Turkish organizations.