Regulator disqualifies five ex-trustees of Turkish community centre

The Charity Commission began an inquiry into the Anatolian People's Culture Centre in north London last year after the police searched its premises in relation to a counter-terrorism operation

The former premises of the charity
The former premises of the charity

The Charity Commission has disqualified five former trustees of a Turkish community centre in north London after the charity was searched by counter-terror police.

The regulator said today that in April last year it opened a statutory inquiry into the Anatolian People's Cultural Centre in Stoke Newington after the charity’s premises were searched by police as part of a counter-terrorism operation.

As a result of that search, Ayfer Yildiz, a trustee of the charity, was arrested on suspicion of terror offences. The charity’s premises were later closed by a court order and remain closed, the regulator said.

Yildiz was last month found not guilty of two counts of disseminating terrorist publications, but the regulator said she remained suspended and it was "considering further regulatory action".

The commission said it had obtained an order disqualifying the charity’s five other trustees, whom it did not name, from being charity board members or from holding any senior management positions in charities for 10 years, because it deemed them unfit to be charity trustees.

The regulator said it had concerns about the charity’s management and whether its property had been used solely to further the charity’s stated purposes, which included providing training, support and employment opportunities.

It had also failed to file any accounts for at least the past five years.

The commission said the inquiry would look into areas including the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees, whether its funds had been properly spent and could be accounted for, and the conduct of trustees.

The commission said it did not announce the inquiry until today in order to avoid any potential prejudice to the now completed police investigation that led to Yildiz’s trial.

Yildiz remains the only person listed as a trustee of the charity on its entry on the Charity Commission’s online register.

Third Sector was unable to reach anyone from the charity for comment.

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