Court denies lawsuit by TÜRGEV after main opposition head called it “center of bribery”

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An Ankara court has denied a lawsuit filed by the Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV) against the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who frequently called the foundation linked to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “center of bribery.”

According to a report by the Hürriyet daily, TÜRGEV petitioned the Ankara 19th Court of First Instance requesting TL100,000 in moral damages from Kılıçdaroğlu in regard to his remarks made in 2014.

Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan is reportedly a member of the executive board of TÜRGEV. In one of his speeches, Kılıçdaroğlu said “Public tenders are granted [to business people]. And the bribery is paid to TÜRGEV.”

TÜRGEV’s attorney who filed the lawsuit against the CHP leader stated in their petition to the court that the allegations were baseless and attacked their client’s reputation. In response, Celal Çelik, a lawyer representing Kılıçdaroğlu wrote in a petition that his client’s statements are facts and intended to enlighten the public.

To verify Kılıçdaroğlu’s claim, Çelik requested public property records pertaining to a real estate in the “Sevda Tepesi” in the İstanbul district of Üsküdar, documents from the Dec. 17, 2013, corruption scandal that led to the resignation of four Cabinet ministers during Erdoğan’s rule, as well as wiretapped phone conversations within the now-closed case.

The court obtained the requested documents and denied TÜRGEV’s demand of a lawsuit. According to Çelik, the documents revealed that the owner of above mentioned real estate was Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, who died in January 2015. Çelik told the media that an unlawful transfer of USD 99,999,990 was made to TÜRGEV from Royal Protokol, which according to Çelik belonged to the Saudi royal family in April 2012, while the king was still alive.

“Nowhere in the world, a foundation receives USD 99,999,990 without anything in return,” Çelik said.

Turkey declared a day of national mourning on January 24, 2015 when Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died of lung infection at the age of 90.Turkish social media users widely criticized and mocked the decision, calling it “extremely meaningless.”

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