As a result of providing tents to Ahbap in the early days after the twin earthquakes that struck southern Turkey on February 6 and left almost 45,000 dead, the Turkish Red Crescent is again facing criticism.
Turkish slang for "friend," Ahbap, revealed in a statement on Sunday that it had paid roughly 46 million Turkish lire ($2.4 million) for 2,050 tents from Red Crescent subsidiary Kizilay Cadir ve Tekstil A.S. (Red Crescent Tent and Textile Corp) on February 10.
The Turkish Red Crescent came under fire from the opposition for prioritizing funding over aid amid a national catastrophe.
The spokesperson for the primary Red Crescent organization, Faik Oztrak, said: "From the Red Crescent that repaired the earthquake wounds to the Red Crescent that operates as an earthquake opportunist."
When thousands of people were searching for refuge after their homes were wrecked by the earthquake, the opposition claims that the tents should have previously been sent to the disaster zone.
Meral Aksener, the leader of the Turkish nationalist Iyi Party, claimed that the Red Crescent had lost its mission due to financial considerations.
In the interim, the Red Crescent has provided conflicting explanations for the condition of affairs.
The organization's newly elected president, Kerem Kinik, claimed on Sunday that Red Crescent Tent and Textile was merely attempting to use the tent sales revenue to purchase raw materials, create additional products, and give them to the earthquake sufferers.
He continued by saying that the organization is only supported by contributions and businesses and does not get any state funding.
Kinik, however, claimed that he was not contacted before his colleagues decided to sell the tents to Ahbap during broadcast remarks on Monday.
I would have advised them to obtain transportation assistance from Ahbap for the tents rather than selling them, he continued. "I criticized my coworkers, saying that they had bad instincts."
Red Crescent Corporation
Following the earthquakes, Ahbap became one of the most reputable aid organizations in Turkey as more people lost faith in the government as a result of its inadequate response to the disaster.
While operating in more than 60 provinces under the direction of rock singer Haluk Levent, Ahbap was a relatively tiny organization before the accident.
A lot of individuals started pushing for donations to Ahbap over the official Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), alleging that the latter could not be trusted as an arm of the state, on Twitter, which has grown to be a crucial instrument for Turkish rescue and humanitarian efforts.
Levent further disclosed that Ahbap bought 30,000 meals from another affiliate of the Red Crescent. But given that many donors like Ahbap for its non-governmental initiatives, the discoveries put him in a challenging situation.
A well-known singer named Yesim Salkim advised Levent against purchasing the tents from the Red Crescent.
"Levent has erred just as gravely as the Red Crescent,” she declared.
Turkish society has always regarded the Red Crescent, which was founded in 1868, as a capable and impartial humanitarian organization. The assistance organization modified its rules in 2009, allowing it to create firms that may generate income for aid-related activities.
The decision to create 11 corporations, according to Tekin Kucukali, a former Red Crescent chairman, altered the organization's character and gave it the appearance of a holding.
"The Red Crescent's civil initiative was taken away when it was transformed into a company,” he claimed. Why did civic projects like Ahbap emerge?
Afad's choice to replace the Red Crescent's emblem with its own and utilize them as suppliers for tents was also criticized. The lack of the Red Crescent insignia on tents gave the impression that relief was not being delivered by the organization.
On Monday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, blasted the critics as "sycophants," noting that the Red Crescent had already given thousands of tents to the survivors and served hot meals to the victims in numerous areas.
In separate announcements on Tuesday, the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) and the Iyi Party both demanded the resignation of Kinik from the Red Crescent.
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