Last month, police detained 31 individuals in the investigation into alleged Eid charity fraud. Eleven of these individuals were released on Dec. 24. Yesterday, the Ankara 26th Court of First Instance issued arrest warrants for those 11. Among them are Mehmetçik Vakfı President Salih Güloğlu, Foundation of Children with Leukemia (LÖSEV) head Üstün Ezel, Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) Chairman Mehmet Cengiz and Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) Vice President Faik Yavuz, who also heads the Meat Exchange.
Yesterday, five of the 11 suspects whom the prosecutor seeks to detain were apprehended and referred to the Ankara 1st Peacetime Court. The court released one of these suspects, identified as Murat Üner. The court ruled for the arrest of the remaining four: Mehmetçik Foundation head Güloğlu and senior foundation members Cengiz Baştuğhan, Akif Emre Yalçınkaya and Arif Uzun.
Mehmetçik Foundation President Salih Güloğlu was arrested on Tuesday for corrupt practices in accepting Eid al-Adha donations to sacrifice animals on behalf of donors.
The suspects were accused of not fulfilling about two-thirds of the orders from people who had donated money to these foundations for sacrifices, fraud amounting to TL 40 million. Many Muslims choose to donate money to charitable organizations to sacrifice an animal on their behalf for the religious holiday.
After being referred to the court yesterday, Güloğlu told reporters that at the time he had not done anything that would bring shame to himself or his family. “We are upset about the allegations claiming we were involved in fraud,” he said.
Prosecutors accuse the Mehmetçik Foundation of having overcharged donors for the sacrifices. The prosecutors say that the foundation was supposed to make 210,000 sacrifices, but made only 140,000. According to the allegations, the Turkish Aviation Board (THK) -- which collects and sells the hides of the animals slaughtered by the Mehmetçik Vakfı and uses the income for investments in the Turkish aviation sector -- was also part of the alleged scam. The prosecutors accuse the THK of falsifying transaction figures regarding at least 150,000 hides.
Furthermore, it was reported that the General Directorate for Foundations has launched separate investigations into the LÖSEV and Mehmetçik foundations on charges of corruption. If the corruption claims are substantiated, the foundations may lose their legal status as charitable organizations.