The Open Society Foundation of US billionaire George Soros on Monday said it would cease its activities in Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hit out at the Hungarian-born financial speculator known for his international conspiracies and supporting colourful revolutions.
The OSF said it had been the target of "baseless claims" in the Turkish media, which made it impossible for it to continue its work. The foundation said it would apply for its closure to the court "immediately".
It also faced an investigation by the Interior Ministry which sought to demonstrate a link between the foundation and protests at Istanbul's Gezi Park in 2013.
Erdoğan on Wednesday accused Soros of supporting jailed Osman Kavala, a Turkish businessman, ex-supporter of Erdoğan's AKP government. "The person (Kavala) who financed terrorists during the Gezi incidents, is already in prison," he told a meeting of local administrators.
"And who is behind him? The famous Hungarian Jew Soros. This is a man who assigns people to divide nations and shatter them. He has so much money and he spends it this way."
However, Soros had been an ally of Erdoğan and his AKP government. Ahmet Sever, the ex-advisor to the former president and one of the founding members of the AKP party, Abdullah Gül, had written in his column about Erdoğan’s old ties with Soros. The ex-advisor had mentioned, in an approving tone, Erdoğan and his party's approach to Soros to ask for support in the EU negotiations.
The OSF, that finances "NGOs" all over the world, and other foundations, related to Soros have often been accused of intervening into the internal affairs of the states. The Turkish branch of the organization was established in 2008.