Turkish pro-gov’t newspaper targets Gülen-linked charity in Germany

Daily Sabah, an English-language daily managed by family members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has targeted a Germany-based charity group, accusing of “financing terrorism” due to its links to the Gülen movement.

In a report published on Friday, the pro-gov’t daily claimed that Time to Help e.V. attempted to block donations to Turkey’s Red Crescent and government disaster management authorities in the aftermath of last year’s deadly February 6 earthquakes.

Daily Sabah also accused Time to Help of working with a Catholic charity in South Sudan and with the Red Cross in Ukraine to deliver humanitarian aid to the war-torn country.

It in addition accused the NGO of collaborating with the “putschist General Khalifa Haftar” in Libya over its delivery of aid to regions hit by floods in September 2023.

Daily Sabah is the English-language version of the Sabah newspaper and it is owned by the Turkuvaz Media Group, the ownership of which enjoys close ties to Erdoğan and whose upper management is members of the Turkish president’s family.

Sabah is known for its repeated harassment of government critics living abroad by releasing secretly taken pictures of journalists based in Sweden, Germany and the United States.

In some cases, the publications violated the journalists’ privacy by revealing their home addresses in countries with sizeable pro-Erdoğan expatriate communities.

A Sweden-based critic’s car was vandalized shortly after he was targeted by Sabah.

Government critics, such as journalists Ahmet Dönmez and Abdullah Bozkurt, have also suffered physical assaults in Europe.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

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