Dec 12 2018

Turkish court appoints trustees to Turkish Red Crescent

A Turkish court appointed on Wednesday three trustees to manage the Turkish Red Crescent humanitarian aid organisation until a new general assembly is held within two weeks, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

The Turkish Red Crescent was taken to court by its staff after it closed down 700 of its branches over the last few months, reducing the number still open to 200.

The heads of the recently closed branches objected to the decision, and later filed a legal complaint saying the organisation had not taken into account the notifications they sent to general headquarters even though the number of these had passed the legal threshold required to hold a general assembly.

An expert report submitted to the court verified the branch heads’ claim, and in response the court has appointed three trustees to head the Turkish Red Crescent for the next two weeks.

İlhami Yıldırım, the brother of Turkey’s former prime minister and the current speaker of the Turkish parliament Binali Yıldırım, is among the three trustees appointed. İlhami Yıldırım is the president of the Turkish Red Crescent’s Istanbul branch.

The Turkish Red Crescent’s administration said in a written statement that it would appeal against the decision of the court.

“Those who applied to the court demanding a general assembly is held by the Red Crescent, have violated the basic principles of the organisation, and have gathered together by establishing an alliance between different groups based on personal hostilities,” the organisation said.

The administration said that since a failed coup attempt in 2016 it has sacked branch heads linked to the Gülen movement, a religious group the Turkish government blames for the coup attempt.

As a result, the organisation shut down some branches it says were directly linked to the Gülen movement, but also those it said did not play an active enough role in demonstrations against the coup in its aftermath.

The Red Crescent says it is also closing branches it deemed unsuccessful in providing services.

The Turkish Red Crescent or Kızılay was founded in 1868. The organisation is the largest humanitarian aid organisation in Turkey and has a non-profit status.