Corruption charges made by Soros-linked organisation, Turkish foreign minister says
Turkey's foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Thursday said allegations saying that he received payment from a Ukrainian politician for lobbying was groundless, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
According to a report by European watchdog Organized Crime & Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Çavuşoğlu had received payment from Ukrainian politician Serhiy Lovochkin through U.S. lobbyist Paul Manafort, who is currently in prison on fraud charges stemming from the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 U.S. elections.
Manafort recruited the Turkish foreign minister as part of an effort to ensure that the partnership agreement between the EU and Ukraine go forward despite the jailing of Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, OCCRP said.
However, Çavuşoğlu denied charges and said OCCRP was funded by American-Hungarian financier George Soros who has been put forward several times by Turkish politicians, recently for providing support to nationwide Gezi Park protests that Turkey blames for attempting to violently overthrow the government.
"The allegations in the report published by an organization sponsored by George Soros, which has recently been tried to be put on the public agenda, are not even remotely close to reality," Çavuşoğlu said in a written statement to Anadolu.
Çavuşoğlu was partly correct when he said OCCRP was funded by Soros. The watchdog has a dozen supporters, including Soros' charity the Open Society Institute, Google, the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy and the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.