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Anadolu Kültür Foundation denies having organized Gezi protests

The Anadolu Kültür Foundation, whose chairman Osman Kavala has been held in pretrial detention for over a year, has denied allegations that it was behind the 2013 Gezi protests in Turkey, the T24 news website reported on Friday.

In a written statement that appeared on its website, the foundation responded to a recently launched investigation based on allegations that Kavala used Anadolu Kültür as well as the Open Society Foundation in order to finance and organize the countrywide anti-government Gezi protests that took place in the summer of 2013.

“The idea that the Gezi protests were orchestrated and financed through the concerted efforts of organizations is inconceivable,” the statement read.

Underlining that the foundation’s operations are entirely transparent, the statement also included information related to its budget for 2013 along with an exhaustive list of all the events organized during that year.

The foundation also pointed out that while Kavala is a member of the board of directors, he has no specific authority as regards the use of its funds.

On Nov. 16, 13 people from the Anadolu Kültür Foundation were detained in relation to the investigation of Kavala. One academic was arrested while the others were released.

Civil society activist Kavala has been in pretrial detention for the last 14 months, while the Open Society Foundation has been under the spotlight of the pro-government media in Turkey for allegedly supporting the protests with the aim of undermining the government.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in November had openly accused Kavala and George Soros, the founder of the Open Society Foundation, of being behind the Gezi protests, claiming that Kavala was the domestic instigator while Soros was the foreign organizer.

“One financier of the terrorists of Gezi Park is now in jail. Behind him was the infamous Hungarian Jew Soros,” Erdoğan had claimed.

Following Erdoğan’s remarks accusing Soros of financing activities to divide countries, the Open Society foundation announced that it was terminating its activities in Turkey.

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