Red Crescent's sale of tents to NGO after quake exposed
A few days after the head of Turkey's Red Crescent admitted that nearly a million earthquake survivors are trying to fend for themselves and that there is need for a further 109,000 tents, it has been exposed that the Red Crescent sold 2,050 tents to Turkish humanitarian aid NGO Ahbap following the twin earthquakes on 6 February.
Red Crescent's President Kerem Kinik tweeted on Sunday:
"Within the first days of the disaster, Ahbap Association purchased, on manufacturing cost, 2,050 tents that had been manufactured by the Red Crescent for a foreign institution, and Ahbap delivered them to places specified by AFAD [Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management] to provide accommodation for earthquake survivors."
Ahbap's founder and director Haluk Levent said:
"We did not have the luxury that evening, when people out there were freezing in the cold and struggling to survive, to ask ourselves 'if we should purchase these tents or not.' We purchased them and delivered them to the earthquake zone. Everything we did is legal and right."
The hashtag "Kizilay" (Red Crescent) quickly became trending in Turkey on Twitter as people tweeted to voice their protest.
Journalist Nevsin Mengu said:
"Government circles started saying after the earthquake that Ahbap is not reliable. Now it appears they sold tents to that allegedly unreliable association so that it can deliver them to quake survivors."
TV producer Armagan Caglayan said:
"Weren't these tents supposed to be delivered as aid by the Red Crescent? Aren't they 'public property?' How can they sell public property?"
Former minister of culture Fikri Saglar said:
"An earthquake strikes and devastates a whole region. What does the Red Crescent do while people are desperately waiting for tents to arrive? It sells 2,050 tents for 46 million TL to Ahbap insead of delivering them to survivors."
Muharrem Ince, the leader of opposition Homeland Party, said:
"You've first turned the Red Crescent into a front company for Ensar [a major Islamist foundation], and now you've 'sold' tents instead of delivering them right away to disaster areas. You've sold the people's tents to the people. This can no more be defined as incompetence, it's plain treason."
The chair of Turkey's Union of Pharmacists told daily Sozcu on Sunday that they also purchased tents for quake survivors from the Red Crescent, and paid 140,000 TL (approx. $7,370) a piece.