Pro-gov’t foundation members appointed to state posts through favoritism, document reveals

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A journalist has disclosed a document including information on some executives and members of the Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), on whose advisory board President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan sits, who were appointed to posts in the Turkish military, police force and judiciary by way of favoritism.

Metin Cihan on Tuesday shared on Twitter images of an Excel table with lists of the names, ID numbers and phone numbers and the posts people on those lists were appointed to, stating that the document was sent to him by a former TÜGVA member.

The information in the document, partly censored in Cihan’s tweets due to the confidentiality of personal information, revealed how hundreds of TÜGVA members got into state office through nepotism, while thousands of people in Turkey take the State Personnel Examination (KPSS) test every year to be appointed to government posts.

“I censored the names, ID numbers and phone numbers, but I’m sure many other individuals also got their hands on these lists. People who are happy with the posts they obtained through favoritism today may have a hard time [because of them] tomorrow,” Cihan said.

The journalist also posted an image of an e-mail sent by the former TÜGVA member to him which discloses the system the pro-government foundation uses to get their members into government institutions.

“TÜGVA used to use an ERP [enterprise resource planning] software program that was downloaded to phones. … There would be a [website] link sent from this address [ERP] only once, so that the person [TÜGVA member] could enter the information for the post they wanted to be appointed to. Then these lists would be sent to higher offices after an evaluation by Esad Erdoğan, Enes Eminoğlu, İsmail Emanet and Faruk Duruş. Many of the people on those lists would be appointed,” Cihan was told in the e-mail.

The former TÜGVA member also stated that he decided to leave the foundation when ERP, which was linked to the Population Registration System, stopped functioning properly and they couldn’t even know who obtained the credentials of millions of people using the program afterwards.

“If I had published the TÜGVA documents as a newspaper article, I would have used the title ‘parallel state structure’,” the journalist said, referring to a term coined by Erdoğan in December 2013 to refer to members of the Gülen movement, especially those within the state bureaucracy.

Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group that focuses on science education, volunteerism, community involvement, social work and interfaith and intercultural dialogue that is inspired by Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

He labels the group as a terrorist organization and intensified the crackdown on them following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

“The document published by Cihan shows the organization of TÜGVA in public institutions. One document is enough to explain why tens of thousands of university graduates [in Turkey] are unemployed, the way appointments to state bodies take place and what the interviews are used for,” journalist Bahadır Özgür tweeted.

Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has long been receiving criticism for engaging in favoritism and filling state posts with its cronies.

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