Turkey refutes Gnanasara Thero’s claim of funding “false ideas” in SL

Turkey has refuted a claim by Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera that the country has been funding the propagation of “false ideas” in Sri Lanka.

In a statement issued yesterday (29), the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey said that this comment made by Gnanasara Thero on a television programme aired on 27 May was “utterly false and baseless”.

According to the Embassy’s statement, the controversial monk had said: “A special fund from Turkey has been set up and money amounting to US$ 40 million flows into the country. What’s the purpose of this? This operation is aimed at creating tensions, propagating false ideas and influencing radio, television channels and journalists, those who shape public opinion against these acts. We have evidence to prove our claims.”

The rest of the statement is as follows:

Turkey has maintained strong ties with Sri Lanka and provided humanitarian and technical assistance on many occasions since 2004. Sending direct funds to beneficiaries was never a method adopted by parties carrying out assistance activities.

The official aid agency of the Republic of Turkey – TIKA and the Turkish Red Crescent have conducted various projects in Sri Lanka since 2004.

Among the projects carried out by the two bodies are a housing project in Midigama for tsunami victims, building houses, infrastructure projects for the internally displaced people in Mannar, aid programmes benefitting children in the Northern Province, granting technological assistance to the University of Peradeniya, helping fishermen and farmers in Trincomalee, and repairing water tanks in the Ampara region.

Turkey has also supported local journalists by providing them cameras and laptops aiming to facilitate independent and impartial reporting.

The Turkish aid agency TIKA has also helped Sri Lanka with capacity building projects such as organising courses in vocational institutes for school dropouts and sending journalists from various newspapers and television stations to obtain professional training in Turkey.

All these assistance projects are being conducted with total transparency, and with the fullest cooperation from local authorities.

Turkey, as a longstanding friend and a partner, will continue its humanitarian and technical assistance programmes in Sri Lanka and will always stand in solidarity with the people of the country against any type of extremism.

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