George Soros Foundation Will End Turkey Activities After Erdogan’s Slamming
The Open Society Foundation of U.S. billionaire George Soros on Monday said it would cease its activities in Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hit out at the Hungarian-born philanthropist last week.
Erdogan on Wednesday accused Soros of supporting the jailed Turkish financier and philanthropist Osman Kavala who organized civil society events.
Kavala has been in prison for the past year awaiting trial. Without directly naming him, Erdogan claimed Kavala “financed the terrorists” during anti-government protests in 2013.
In a statement, the Soros foundation said that new investigations by Turkish authorities were trying to create a link between it and the 2013 demonstrations.
“These efforts are not new and they are all completely false,” the foundation added.
The executive board also pointed to the recent “increase in the number of baseless accusations and unbalanced speculations in the media against Open Society Foundation” which led the board to conclude that “continuing (its) work has become impossible”.
The foundation said it would apply for its closure to the court “immediately”, but insisted it conducted each operation in Turkey in compliance with the country’s laws.
Erdogan previously said Kavala was the representative in Turkey of the “famous Hungarian Jew Soros” whom he accused of trying to “divide and tear up nations”.
Funding philanthropic projects across the world, Soros has become a favourite target of far-right extremists in many countries.
Activists have condemned the lack of an indictment over a year after Kavala’s detention.
Turkish authorities suspect Kavala of “attempting to remove the constitutional order” and “attempting to overthrow the government” by “force or violence”.