Turkey: Controversy erupts over sale of tents after earthquake

The Turkish Red Cross aid organization came under fire from the opposition and Turkish media on Sunday for selling, rather than donating, tents to survivors of a devastating earthquake in southeastern Turkey.

According to the Cumhuriyet newspaper, which uncovered the case, the Turkish Red Crescent sold 2,050 tents for survivors for 46 million Turkish liras ($2.4 million) to the NGO Ahbab. The tents have been transported and installed in earthquake-hit areas, the NGO said on Twitter on Sunday.

Turkish Red Cross President Kerem Kinik confirmed on Twitter that Kizilay Cadir, his organization’s subsidiary responsible for preparing the tents, had provided shelter to Ahbap.At the expense of“.”Red Crescent cooperation with Ahbab is moral, fair and ethical“, confirmed Mr. Kinnick.

But his statements did not stop the media and social networks from shouting. “Turkey’s largest charity, the Red Crescent, sold them three days after the earthquake as people begged instead of giving them away for free to those in need. It is a scam“, the journalist of Cumhuriyet, evaluated about the origin of the revelation of the sale, Murad Akirel.

The Turkish government has been accused of not distributing enough tents, humanitarian aid and adequate relief teams in many areas following the earthquake.

With the status of an association, the Turkish Red Crescent works closely with the Turkish authorities and benefits from several official donation campaigns.

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Many opposition figures have demanded the resignation of the Red Cross president. “Shame!“, the (nationalist) leader of the AII Party, Merel Aksener, hammered on Twitter.

Erdogan defends the Red Cross

This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called critics of the Red Crescent “Dishonest and nasty“. He drew criticism from Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition party, who tweeted: “Erdo─čan, you insulted the earthquake victims about the Turkish crescent. But yes, what did you say?“.

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