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Ankara Uses SETA to Spread Political Views in Germany?

The Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (in Turkish: Siyaset, Ekonomi ve Toplum Araştırmaları Vakfı, SETA) is a policy think-tank based in the capital of Turkey, Ankara. It was established 15 years ago, in 2006, with the objective of producing "up-to-date and accurate knowledge and analyses in the fields of politics, economy and society" and informing "policy makers and the public on changing political, economic, social and cultural conditions." SETA is a non-profit research institute dedicated to innovative studies on national, regional, and international issues. SETA has been evaluating national and international issues in an historical and cultural context. As a research and policy recommending institution, SETA seeks to guide leaders in government, civil society and business. Moreover, SETA provides a forum for international dialog to bring different views together with international scholarly standards, and contributes to the formation of a common ground.

SETA’s projects on current political, economic and social issues aim to provide policy recommendations. SETA has been an independent, non-profit and nonpartisan foundation, however, in foreign media, especially in Germany, the Foundation is allegedly described as being controlled by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It is obvious that events and publications both in domestic and foreign policy should be related with the government because the government makes domestic and foreign policies. SETA takes into account the growing interdependence of political, economic and socio-cultural issues at the national, regional and international levels and seeks to generate knowledge conducive to a social vision based on peace, justice, equality, and the rule of law. SETA has offices in Istanbul, Washington and Cairo. Academic journals are written on Turkey. Panels and events are organized on various topics. SETA’s academic panels and events are not pointing that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan controls it, on the opposite of that, panels and events guide leaders in government, civil society and business.

SETA is frequently and falsely labelled by being single-sided by Western media, especially German media. In order to analyse allegations about SETA, firstly, it should be elaborated that Germany’s unfriendly approaches to Turkey. It is known that German foundations which choose topics that they can find a base in every geography with their discourses on social issues such as environmental awareness, human rights, and women's freedom, provide financial sponsorship and training logistics, and also ensure the management of processes. Implementations of the German foundations succeeded by having sympathetic social base, then after an amount of time, inventions of the implementations have been disclosed.

For instance, Claudia Roth, German Green Party politician, spent more of her time in Diyarbakir province in order to block Turkey's fight against PKK terrorist organization. She tried to create the international community against Turkey’s rightful fight. Both Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir are member of German Green Party which carries anti-Turkey rhetoric in every aspects.

Germany and German foundations’ endeavour to influence political arena in Turkey can be clearly observed. In 2005, CHP (the opposition party in Turkey) was given money by Friedrich Ebert Foundation which is openly supported by German Intelligence Service and German parties. One of Friedrich Ebert Foundation’ aims is to “carry out activities to eliminate the national unity of Turkey!” 85.000 Euros were given to the Friedrich Ebert Foundation by the German Foreign Ministry and to CHP by Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

German Foundations Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Körber Foundation, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Heinrich Böll Foundation and Hans Seidel Foundation should be examined closely. Particularly, German Orient Institute, the Goethe Institute, the German Cultural Center, the Georg Eckert Institute and Fien Organization's activities and grant policies in Turkey must always be followed.

In German Media, it is declared that BND (the foreign intelligence service of Germany) has been secretly listening to Turkey and its activities in every area, since 2009. Later, Germany tried to justify listenings by underlining that they have only followed recent developments in Turkey. However, despite explanations, it seems to be that is an operation mechanism, which served as an international goal of Germany.

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation of the German FDP is generally active in Western Anatolia Region. The German Green Party’s Heinrich Böll Foundation operates in the Southeast and East Anatolia Regions. The SPD's Friedrich Ebert Foundation operates in the fields of economy and civil society. Konrad Adenauer Foundation every year organizes numerous conferences, seminars, workshops and symposiums. Each of institutions and foundations in Turkey has possibilities of gaining access to the data in conducting joint services at different levels.

As a result, it is known that all of SETA’s activities is carried on transparetly. However, still, Berlin included SETA by noting that SETA was used to spread Ankara's views under the name of science and research. Then, it brings a critical question that whether Western media is going to inquire German foundations’ activities in Turkey against Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The problem related SETA is that Germany misinterprets SETA’s dedications that the Foundation takes into account the growing interdependence of political, economic and socio-cultural issues at the national, regional and international levels and seeks to generate knowledge conducive to a social vision based on peace, justice, equality, and the rule of law.