The head of the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) on March 27 addressed the parliament’s earthquake commission which was formed following the major earthquakes of Feb. 6.
Kerem Kınık, who answered the questions of deputies, argued that a “chaos” would arise in Kızılay if he were to resign from the organization. Asked by opposition deputies “Why are you not resigning?” Kınık said: “If the Kızılay head and executive board were to resign, administrative operations would stop. The management of 300,000 volunteers on the field would turn into a chaotic situation.”
Kınık once again claimed that he was not aware of the tent sales to the charity group Ahbap Association. “The tent sales to Ahbap Association were made on Feb. 10. The head of Ahbap Association and I were not informed about this. The procedure in question was done without my knowledge,” he was quoted as saying by the daily Birgün.
“If they had asked about this issue to me, to our CEO, we would have said, ‘Don’t send them (to Ahbap Association). We have the logistics (capacity); we would send them ourselves.’ In the end, those tents were taken to the (earthquake) region on Feb. 10, were established and given to the citizens in need.”
Several ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies came to Kınık’s defense, saying Kızılay “should not be worn down.” AKP Osmaniye deputy Mücahit Durmuş said, “There might be mistakes of Kızılay, but I think that it should not be worn down,” while AKP Gaziantep deputy Derya Bakbak said, “I am a witness myself. At that moment (following the quakes), it was only Kızılay that was able to provide food (to victims).”
Commission head Veysel Eroğlu, from the AKP, similarly defended Kınık, saying that every organization’s executives “can have mistakes, deficiencies.”
Following the quakes, Kızılay has been at the center of criticism, especially with the tent scandal. Citizens asked why Kızılay did not distribute the tents for free at a critical time, questioning what the organization has been doing with their donations.