In a new scandalous act, Journalist Murat Ağırel revealed that the Turkish Red Crescent (“Kızılay”), which came into question for selling tents on the third day of the earthquake, also sold the second-hand goods it has received via donations.
The Kızılay sold one million second-hand goods in 2019 and 759,000 in 2020 according to its annual reports, Ağırel said in the daily Cumhuriyet.
The Kızılay has special boxes around the cities in order to collect donations in the form of second-hand clothes, toys, and other goods to distribute them as aid. The provincial branches also have regular donation campaigns to collect such products.
Ağırel highlighted on Feb. 25 that the Kızılay sold tents to the social assistance organization AHBAP for 46 million liras on the 3rd day of major earthquakes that shook Turkey’s southeast region on Feb. 6. Additionally, he reported that AHBAP is not the only association that purchased tents from the Kızılay.
Ağırel reported that “The Turkish Pharmacists Union (TEB) bought five tents for 800,000 Turkish Liras. A public institution that will distribute free medicines to people in need in the region is buying tents from the Red Crescent for 160,000 liras each. Also, the French Michelin tire company and OPET bought tents for aid at 19,000 liras each. Arçelik bought 100 tents and paid 2,242,000 liras.”
Moreover, AHBAP’s founder famous singer Haluk Levent has said that the Kızılay sold not only tents, but also food to be distributed to the earthquake victims.
Kızılay head Kerem Kınık defended the purchase of AHBAP, saying “the cooperation between the Kızılay and AHBAP is moral, rational, legal. Anyone who claims otherwise either does not understand the issue or is malicious.”
Kınık said the AHBAP purchased the tents “at the production cost,” and stated, "Kızılay Çadır (a subsidiary of Kızılay) transfers the revenues obtained from sales to Kızılay.”
When he was asked whether he will resign or not, Kınık told Hande Fırat from the daily Hürriyet “there is a huge success” and he do not act “on the words of gossipers.”
The Turkish government faces growing criticism over its failure to take timely action in the face of two earthquakes.
As of Feb. 28, some 44,374 people have yet lost their lives due to quakes in 11 provinces according to official figures, whereas 156,000 buildings either collapsed, are about to collapse or severely damaged.