The Turkish Directorate General of Foundations has requested that Ayşe Özer, 80, either pay five years of accumulated rent or vacate her home, which she bequeathed to a charitable foundation in her will, Bold Medya reported.
Özer and her late husband had initially donated the house to a foundation called the İstihkam Vakfı, which was shut down by a government decree after a July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey along with some 1,500 other NGOs, on the condition that the couple be allowed to use it as long as they’re alive. The assets of the organization were transferred to the Directorate General of Foundations, which oversees charitable endowments.
The directorate has ordered Özer to pay rent that it says totals TL 45,000 since 2016 or move out. However, Özer says the arrangement was for the house to be donated only after her death. According to legal advisors the house is still her property.
“They are trying to seize my house,” she said. “My husband and I worked for years to buy this house and a shop. They already took the shop, and now want the house. Where am I supposed to go?”
In a similar case Turkish authorities seized the house of an elderly woman last June because she had donated it to a foundation linked to the Gülen movement that was shut down after the attempted coup.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Sıttıka Atay, 87, received a notice telling her to vacate her house in two weeks’ time and pay the rent for the past four years, which amounted to TL 23.000.
The assets of thousands of people with alleged ties to the Gülen movement were confiscated or frozen by the government both before and after the failed coup. According to a report by Brussels-based human rights group Platform for Peace and Justice (PPJ), the total value of confiscated or frozen assets is $32 billion.