Recep Tayyip Erdogan Usa Sweden Turkey county George city Istanbul Ukraine LGBTQ+ Human Rights Recep Tayyip Erdogan Usa Sweden Turkey county George city Istanbul Ukraine

Turkey's embattled civil society fears worst as foreign funding dries up

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Spod, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group in Istanbul, are also facing a financial battle for survival. Since the elections, fewer of the group's applications for international funding are being accepted, claims Spod's general coordinator Ogulcan Yediveren."It is the data, it's not an evaluation," he says. "It is almost impossible to continue do all these activities based on volunteering.

So this funding is important for organisations to survive."Yediveren warns the shortfall in funding will inevitably impact the group's activities, which include providing telephone helplines and legal and psychological support for LGBTQ+ people.

International funding is Spod's only source of income, he explains. "We don't have any other financial resource. So as long as we receive these international funds, we can continue our activities."The crackdown is adding to international donors' concerns over how effective Turkish civil society organisations really are. "I heard and I was told that donors do not see the output, the impact of such things – the outcome, effectively, for the money that they invest in Turkey," says Sinan Gokcen, head of the Turkish branch of the Sweden-based Civil Rights Defenders group."They are thinking: 'Well, we've been supporting civil society organisations for several years but we don't see any change.'"Gokcen believes there has been a decline in international funding as a result."This has been intensified, especially after the election period," he says. "And finally, for some big donors, the war in Ukraine took their money – they prioritised supporting civil society organisations within Ukraine."The earthquakes in southern Turkey in February also saw donors switch support away from civil society organisations and towards humanitarian relief.The list of major donors withdrawing their support continues to grow.

Open Society Foundations, founded by Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, was once a significant supporter of Turkey's civil society – until it.

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