Turkey Red Crescent head resigns after Erdoğan's criticism of organization over sale of quake tents

Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) head Kerem Kınık has resigned after President Erdoğan's criticism of the organization over the sale of tents to charity Ahbap during the post-earthquake period.

Reuters - Duvar English 

The head of the Turkish Red Crescent resigned on May 12, the relief association said, three months after controversy emerged over the selling of tents to a charity in the first days after devastating earthquakes in Turkey.

Kerem Kınık's resignation became trending on Twitter, with people saying that the move was a proof of the existence of a "one-man regime." 

Journalist Fatih Altaylı shared Kınık's photo on Twitter and wrote, "Bye bye Kerem." 

The magnitude 7.8 quake shook a huge area in southern Turkey in February, causing more than 54,000 deaths in Turkey and Syria.

People in the region complained of a slow response by authorities in the first days after the disaster, prompting criticism of the government.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 11 he had been "saddened" by the Red Crescent selling tents.

"Red Crescent cannot sell tents. They should correct this mistake immediately," he said during a meeting with young people that was pre-recorded and broadcast on May 11.

Kırık first said that he was aware of the sale and described it as legal, arguing that a subsidiary of the agency conducted sale. But he later denied being aware of the sale and said he would have prevented it if he knew beforehand.

The relief association said in its statement on May 12 that it would hold an extraordinary convention following the resignation.

Red Crescent also stirred a public debate after it was revealed that it sold tents to another charity, AHBAP, in the first days after the earthquake instead of directly sending them to disaster zone.