Faced with an increasingly hostile political environment and a number of baseless accusations, the Open Society Foundation in Turkey has decided to cease its operations in Turkey.
“We received the news with regret, but we understand fully the decision by the Board of Directors in Turkey,” said Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations. “The accusations are groundless, cynical, and politically motivated. They have made it impossible for the Foundation to continue the important work it does supporting civil society groups, academics, and others who advocate for a democratic and open society in Turkey.”
Since its founding in 2001, the Foundation has conducted its activities in compliance with the laws of Republic of Turkey. The Foundation supported Turkey becoming an EU candidate in 2004, which was commended by the Turkish government, women’s rights across Turkey, and education and employment for the Roma minority in Turkey.
The Foundation’s activities have been regularly monitored, and audited, by the Ministry of Interior and the General Directorate of Foundations.
The Foundation’s bylaws state, “A decision in favor of the closure of the foundation can be taken upon the conclusion that the foundation could no longer serve its purpose or there is any benefit left in its continuation.”
An application for the closure of the Foundation will be filed with the court immediately.
Patrick Gaspard added that the Open Society Foundations will continue to support future partners in Turkey who would want to work with them.