The Turkish Red Crescent, the largest non-governmental ‘‘relief’’ organization in Turkey, which has been come under fire due to the allegations of corruption and excessive increases in salaries of its administrative board, purchased luxury cars with the subventions donated by the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme to support the foreigners living in the country, it has revealed.
A total of 10 4x4 vehicles, including two ultra-luxury cars, were purchased with 3 million 700 thousand Turkish Lira ($643 thousand) within the scope of the Project of Social Cohesion Assistance for Foreigners Programme, according to a report in Cumhuriyet Daily.
The report says that the money was donated by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in order to ‘support the aggrieved foreigners to fulfil their basic needs in a dignified manner’.
Yet, WFP’s donation sent to the administrative board of the Turkish Red Crescent met under the chairmanship of the Vice President Kerem Kınık was used for vehicle purchase on the pretext of ‘‘emergency purchases’’.
Claiming in its final decision that the Turkish Red Crescent officers would get easy access to rural areas, the administrative board stated: ‘‘As a result of the 2018 budget negotiations with the WFP, a budget of 3 million 700 thousand TL was allocated for the purchase of vehicles to be used within the scope of the project. As part of the Project of Social Cohesion Assistance for Foreigners Programme, it has been approved to purchase 4x4 off-road vehicles, which will be used for the aforementioned activities and provide easy access to rural areas.’’
NEPOTISM IN TURKISH RED CRESCENT
Last week, it was unfolded that almost all of the members of the administrative board of the Turkish Red Crescent have a kinship with each other or strong ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as well as the Islamic foundations managed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s children.
Kerem Kınık, the Vice President of the Turkish Red Crescent, had made propaganda for the AKP’s Istanbul Mayoral Candidate Binali Yıldırım during the local reelections in Istanbul this year.
In 2012, Kerem Kınık had proudly shared his visit to the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is the prime suspect of the July 15 failed coup in Turkey in 2016.
The Turkish Red Crescent has been also criticized due to arbitrary and excessive increases in salaries of its administrative board as well as the corruption allegations.