İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality has recently been funding several Islamist-oriented foundations by public funds for up to $230 million, Cumhuriyet daily reported on Tuesday. The foundations are known for Islamic indoctrination and their supplementary role in the nationwide Islamization of education. The Municipality is governed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
One of the foundations, Turkish Youth and Education Service Foundation (TÜRGEV) is well known for its close links with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's family. Bilal Erdoğan, Erdoğan's son, had been a member of the board of directors of the TÜRGEV until recent years, while Esra Albayrak, Erdoğan's daughter, is still an active member of the board.
Another organisation propped up by the AKP government, the Ensar Foundation, is also subsidised. The foundation is known for a nationwide child abuse scandal, which had sparkled public indignation in 2015 as the government kept advocating the organisation.
The Municipality has carried out the funding operations by bearing expenses of the foundations including premise rents and maintenance costs. Allocating estates has been another common practice. Such privileges have been granted by legal protocols.
In return, the foundations are expected to provide dormitory services and scholarships to low-income and disabled students.
Some other foundations funded by the Municipality are the Youth Foundation of Turkey (TÜGVA), known as the sister foundation of TÜRGEV, and the World Academy for Local Government and Democracy (WALD), branches of which are presided by mayors of AKP governed districts of İstanbul.