Turkey’s ruling AKP proposes record-breaking funding for charitable foundations

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is proposing record-breaking funding of 353 million liras ($ 61 million) for charitable foundations in 2020,  opposition newspaper Sözcü reported.

The proposed budget  “for funding of foundations that do to seek profit,’’ includes a 200 million lira ($ 34 million)   increase to the AKP-linked Maarif Foundation, which received 279 million from the public treasury in 2019.

The Maarif Foundation was established in 2016 to take over schools abroad that were run by the Gülen movement, which Turkey blames for orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt.

AKP’s subsidies for non-profit organisations made headlines as Turkey geared up for municipal elections in March. A total of 848 million liras ($ 145.6 million) was transferred to a list of foundations linked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the previous two-years of the AKP-led administration, according to a report compiled by the Istanbul municipality in January.

The 2020 budget proposal sees a 3 million lira (520,700) increase in aid for  “the needy and visually impaired’’ from 31 million to 34 million lira ($ 5.9 million) while political parties are set to receive 419 million ($ 72.2 million)from the treasury in 2020, Sözcü said.