It is a transaction that goes wrong. The Turkish Red Crescent humanitarian aid organization was sharply criticized Sunday by the opposition and Turkish media for selling and not giving tents for survivors of the earthquake that devastated southeastern Turkey on February 6.

According to the daily Cumhuriyet, which broke the story, the Turkish Red Crescent sold 2,050 tents for survivors to the charity Ahbap for 46 million Turkish liras ($2.4 million). The tents were brought in and set up in the quake-affected areas, the NGO said on Twitter on Sunday.

'It's a scandal'

Turkish Red Crescent President Kerem Kinik confirmed on Twitter that Kizilay Cadir, a subsidiary of his organization responsible for producing the tents, had provided Ahbap with shelters "at cost". "The Red Crescent's cooperation with Ahbap is moral, reasonable and ethical," Kinik said.

But his statements did not stop the outcry in the media and on social networks. "Turkey's largest charity, the Red Crescent, sold tents instead of distributing them for free to those in need as people begged for them three days after the earthquake. It's a scandal," said Murat Agirel, the Cumhuriyet journalist behind the revelation of the sale.

Erdogan splashed

The Turkish government has been accused of failing to distribute enough tents, humanitarian aid and deploy sufficient relief teams to several locations in the days following the quake. NGOs including the charity Ahbap and volunteers helped fill the gaps.

With association status, the Turkish Red Crescent works closely with the Turkish authorities and benefits from numerous official donation campaigns. Several opposition figures have called for the resignation of the president of the Red Crescent. "Shame on you!" said Meral Aksener, president of the nationalist Iyi Party.

This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused critics of the Red Crescent of being "dishonest and vile." He drew criticism from the leader of the main opposition party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

  • Earthquakes
  • Turkey
  • NGO
  • Humanitarian aid
  • Recep Tayyip Erdogan
  • Scandal
  • World