April 30, 2015

'Accusing Kimse Yok Mu of terror endangers Kyrgyz orphans'

Rüstem Atayev, the principal of the Togolok Moldo Orphans' School in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bişkek, has said that the Turkish government accusing the Turkish charity Kimse Yok Mu of terrorism activities will put the welfare of the orphans at the school in jeopardy, as the school is financed by Kimse Yok Mu donations.

Togolok Moldo Orphans' School, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Togolok Moldo Orphans' School, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

According to Atayev, the smear campaign against Kimse Yok Mu is unacceptable, as millions of people around the world have been helped by the charitable foundation. “It is difficult to understand how the Turkish government will benefit from accusing Kimse Yok Mu of terrorism,” Atayev said.

Kyrgyz President Atambayev with students of Togolok Moldo School
Students of Togolok Moldo School pose with Kyrgyz President Atambayev (C)

A statement sent to Kimse Yok Mu on April 15 by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office revealed that the prosecutor's office has been conducting an investigation of the charity on terrorism charges. Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Musa Yücel sent a subpoena to Kimse Yok Mu's management asking that they send him information about the organization's activities for Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice). After receiving the request, the charity's lawyers contacted the prosecutor's office to learn the details of the investigation. When the lawyers went to the Ankara Courthouse, they found that the investigation includes charges of being an "armed terrorist organization." However, as the court had ordered that the details of the probe remain confidential, the lawyers could not examine the contents of the investigation file.

The Togolok Moldo Orphans' School, a residential and educational complex, is the result of a $2.284 million Kimse Yok Mu investment, and was inaugurated by Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev in a ceremony on Oct. 3, 2014.

Rüstem Atayev (R), principal of the Togolok Moldo school, is seen here with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev after the inauguration ceremony.(Photo: Today's Zaman)

Kimse Yok Mu, which is inspired by the faith-based Gülen movement -- also known as the Hizmet movement, motivated by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen -- has become a target in a battle launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against the movement. Several pro-government media outlets are carrying out a smear campaign, with publications accusing the charity of engaging in illegal fundraising activities despite a lack of evidence to that effect.

Kimse Yok Mu was awarded the Turkish Parliament Outstanding Service Award in 2013, and the charity was named one of the world's 100 best NGOs by the Swiss non-profit group Global Geneva in 2014.

Published on Today's Zaman, 30 April 2015, Thursday