George Soros’ Open Society Foundation has called the accusations of President Erdogan that the billionaire was trying to “divide and destroy nations” as “baseless claims.” Erdogan went so far as to link Soros to anti-government protests at Istanbul’s Gezi Park in 2013. The Open Society Foundation said on Monday that it would cease all operations in Turkey because it was impossible to continue.
What did Erdogan say?
In a speech last week, Mr Erdogan – in comments condemned as anti-Semitic – highlighted the recent arrests of 13 people in connection with the Gezi protests.
They are accused of supporting jailed activist Osman Kavala in an attempt to topple the government through mass protests.
“The person who financed terrorists during the Gezi incidents, is already in prison,” Mr Erdogan told a meeting of local government officials.
“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.”
What did the foundation say?
The Open Society Foundation said it would apply for the legal liquidation and winding up of its operations in Turkey as soon as possible.
It said “new investigations” were trying to link it to the Gezi protests.
“These efforts are not new and they are outside reality,” it added.
The foundation insisted it had worked in Turkey in compliance with the country’s laws.