TORONTO (Kurdistan 24) – A humanitarian organization in Toronto, Canada, has been stripped of its charity status based on accusations it supports groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), a federal agency which regulates tax laws and monitors compliance on behalf of the Canadian government, said it found the Anatolia Cultural Foundation in Toronto guilty of assisting PKK-linked groups abroad.
In a statement on its website, the CRA said information it obtained during an audit led it to believe the foundation had funded “the activities of various organizations that are linked to or openly support the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and/or armed militia groups and political groups that are closely aligned with the PKK.”
“In particular, it was found that the Organization did not devote all its resources to charitable purposes and activities, was gifting resources to a non-qualified donee, and failed to demonstrate direction and control,” the statement added.
Canada, like its neighbor the United States, considers the PKK a “terrorist group” for its ongoing rebellion against the Turkish government for broader Kurdish rights.
Among other things, the CRA alleged that the Anatolia Cultural Foundation “did not maintain and provide books and records,” and did not file its donation receipts accordingly.
“For all these reasons, and for each reason alone, it is the position of the CRA that the Organization no longer meets the requirements necessary for charitable registration.”
The president of Anatolia Cultural Foundation, Ilhan Ulutas, denied all allegations and said the charity group would appeal the CRA decision, Global News reported.
According to a mission statement on its website, the Anatolia Cultural Foundation “is a non-profit organization dedicated to making real, meaningful differences in communities.”
The charity group was founded in 2011 and had been a government-registered charity since then before its status was revoked.
Most of its primary projects involve the northeastern region of Syria, in particular, Kobani and Afrin.