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Pro-gov’t foundation closing down dormitories after loss of public funding

The pro-government Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV) has decided to close down 25 dormitories due to a decline in public funding from municipalities run by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Birgün daily reported.

The AKP lost many municipalities including the major Turkish cities of İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir in the March 31 local elections. These municipalities, now run by opposition party mayors, no longer transfer public money to pro-AKP foundations and media organizations.

President and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son, Bilal, is an executive board member of TÜRGEV, while his elder daughter Esra Albayrak is also active in the foundation.

TÜRGEV’s name first came to public attention in Turkey in the aftermath of corruption probes that went public in late 2013 in which senior government members were implicated.

TÜRGEV also made news in the case of Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab, who was accused in US federal court of helping Iran evade sanctions, when it was alleged that Zarrab, who has been praised by Turkish President Erdoğan, had also made donations to TÜRGEV.

The government is accused of giving state-owned lands and buildings to TÜRGEV either for free or at very low prices.

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