Istanbul protest against Red Crescent's sale of tents targeted by police

Istanbul protest against Red Crescent's sale of tents targeted by police
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The offices of the Workers Party of Turkey have been encircled by the police and several officials and members of the party have been detained.

A group of people who staged a protest in Istanbul against Turkish Red Crescent's sale of tents to a NGO straight after the twin earthquakes on 6 February were targeted by the police, and several protesters were detained.

Turkish Red Crescent's president Kerem Kinik admitted on Sunday that they sold 2,050 tents to Ahbap Association instead of immediately delivering the tents to disaster zones to provide accommodation for survivors.

It was revealed by the Turkish Union of Pharmacists (TEB) that Turkish Red Crescent sold them some tents too, in the days following the earthquakes.

Kinik earlier said they're still short of over 100,000 tents and close to a million people in the earthquake zone are trying to survive by their own means.

Members of the Workers Party of Turkey (TIP) staged a protest on Sunday evening against Turkish Red Crescent, who they accused of pursuing commercial interests even in the midst of the catastrophe.

TIP's Istanbul offices were encircled by the police and several TIP members, including the chair of the party's Istanbul branch Cengiz Yeter, were detained by the police. They were released on early Monday.

Two women were caught up in the camera as they approached police officers and told them that TIP members were among volunteers who rushed to help quake survivors.

"Have you been to a disaster area?" one of the woman asked a woman police officer. "Did you see the collapsed buildings, the victims trapped under the rubble? And these people [TIP members] are defending your rights as well, you know?"

TIP deputy Baris Atay tweeted:

"50 thousand people perished in the earthquake, thousands still in the rubble, and [interior minister] Suleyman Soylu is busy besieging us."

The hashtag "polis" has become trending in Twitter as thousands of people posted messages in protest against the police's attitude.