Erdoğan grants tax exemption to pro-AKP foundation

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan granted tax exempt status to three more foundations, including one established by Osman Kaan, a prominent member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), daily BirGün reported on Sunday.

Kaan is a close friend of Erdoğan and was among the 14 people who arranged meetings in 2019 to prevent AKP heavyweights Abdullah Gül, Ahmet Davutoğlu and Ali Babacan from leaving the party, according to BirGün.

Kaan’s son is an AKP Istanbul administrator, and his nephew was the director of pro-AKP business association MÜSİAD.

The Kaanlar foundation cites its purpose as “contributing to individuals who defend material and spiritual values over Islam, and who will be beneficial to humanity and their country”.

Erdoğan granted tax-exempt status to two more foundations, the Zümrüt and Somuncu Baba foundations. The latest additions brought the total number of tax-exempted foundations to 300, 111 of which were granted under AKP governments. There are around 5,500 foundations in Turkey overall.

Other tax-exempt foundations include the Foundation for Islamic History of Science Research, New Turkey Education Foundation (YETEV), Okmeydanı Sports and Education Foundation.

The Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA) and the Women and Democracy Foundation (KADEM), which have Erdoğan’s son Bilal and daughter Sümeyye in key positions, are also exempt from taxes. TÜGVA and KADEM are also facing corruption allegations.

The president holds the authority to grant the exemption since April, when the law was amended. Before April, the Finance Ministry would make a proposal and the cabinet would vote on it.

Two more foundations run by Erdoğan’s sons-in-law, the Nun Education and Culture Foundation ran by former finance minister Berat Albayrak and the Turkey Technology Team Foundation run by drone manufacturer Selçuk Bayraktar, are also exempt from paying taxes.

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