Turkish Red Crescent

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Turkish Red Crescent
Türk Kızılayı
Charitable organization
Founded 1868 (as Hilâl-i Ahmer Cemiyeti)
Headquarters Ankara, Turkey
Website http://www.kizilay.org.tr

Turkish Red Crescent (Turkish: Türk Kızılayı (official) or Kızılay (for short)) is the largest humanitarian organization in Turkey and is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

The organization was founded under the Ottoman Empire in 1868, partly in response to the experience of the Crimean War, in which disease overshadowed battle as the main cause of death and suffering among Turkish soldiers. It was the first Red Crescent society of its kind and one of the most important charity organizations in the Muslim world.[1]

The society is a not-for-profit, volunteer-based social service institution providing unconditional aid and service, and is a corporate body governed by special legal provisions.[2]

The organization has also encountered criticism for its alleged direct links to major terrorist organizations, as well as indirect ties through groups like Qatar Charity and the Turkish government.[3][4]


The organization was founded under the Ottoman Empire on 11 June 1868 and was named "Hilâl-i Ahmer Cemiyeti".[2]

It later took on the names:[2]

  • "Ottoman Red Crescent Society” in 1877
  • “Turkey’s Red Crescent Community” in 1923
  • “Turkish Red Crescent Community” in 1935
  • “Turkish Red Crescent Society” in 1947

It was renamed Kızılay by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1935,[2] after the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.

Beginning with the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78), the Turkish Red Crescent Society has provided medical relief to soldiers in all battlefields in which Turkey was present, through mobile and fixed hospitals, patient transportation services, hospital vessels, trained nurses and volunteers. It has provided humanitarian care regardless of nationality to all civilians affected by war. It has been involved in disaster relief and aid in natural disasters in Turkey. It has participated in international relief and response activities.[2]

Examples of disaster relief activities include:[5]


  • Disaster management: Operations in 78 different countries in natural and human related disasters in the last 10 years[7]
  • Blood donations provided through 17 Regional Blood Centers, 65 Blood Donation Centers with more than 150 mobile blood donation vehicles[8]
  • International aid
  • Health care: Hospitals in Konya, Kayseri and medical centers throughout Turkey[9]
  • First aid: 33 First aid centers throughout Turkey providing healthcare and first aid instruction. First aid training provided to a total of 100,000 people[10]
  • Immigration and Refugee Services: Assists the relevant public authorities in meeting the needs of refugees in Turkey, including shelter, health, and education.[11] Runs 23 camps for the Refugees of the Syrian Civil War
  • Youth & Educational Services: Projects aimed at youth to increase community awareness regarding disasters. Provides scholarships and runs youth camps[12]


The organization has garnered criticism for various ties to terrorism, brought on by a recent partnership with Qatar Charity (QC), as well as for allegedly providing ISIS with firearms. The Turkish Red Crescent has also been reputed as a propaganda machine for the Turkish government.

Partnership with Qatar Charity[edit]

The Turkish Red Crescent has recently begun to partner with Qatar Charity (QC) on various humanitarian projects.

In December 2016, the Turkish Red Crescent together with QC made a $10 million deal with the Turkish government to provide services for Syrian refugees in Turkey over the next five years. Kerem Kinik, head of the organization added “We have common areas of interest such as Palestine, Iraq and Somalia...this collaboration is just a beginning”.[13]

In June 2016, the organization and QC provided aid to victims of flooding and violence in Beledweyne, Somalia.[14] Somalia has lost much of its rural areas to al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization with links to al-Qaeda that consistently carries out attacks throughout the country.[15]

Skepticism surrounding Qatar Charity[edit]

QC has purportedly provided millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to victims in Qatar and throughout the world since its founding in 1992. However, the organization has historically been discovered as a financier for terrorist groups.[16]

QC’s ties to al-Qaeda date back to 1993.[17] Osama bin Laden directly stated that QC funds had been utilized in a terrorist operation.[18] Jamal Ahmed Al-Fadl, former senior al-Qaeda lieutenant, confirmed this report following conversations with bin Laden:

“[Al-Fadl] understood from conversations with Bin Laden and others in al Qaeda that charities would receive funds that could be withdrawn in cash and a portion of the money used for legitimate relief purposes and another portion diverted for al Qaeda operations”.[19]

QC also has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and has participated in terrorist activities both in Libya and Sudan.[20] The Sudan Tribune reported in February 2015 that the organization was “building housing complexes in remote and isolated areas to harbor and train extremists groups to destabilize security and stability in Africa and some Arab countries”.[21]

Purported propaganda machine for Turkish government[edit]

Following a coup of the Republic of Turkey carried out by the Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO) on July 15, 2016, the Turkish Red Crescent sent a letter to hundreds of international aid organizations and NGOs, including to organizations of the United Nations and Red Crescents in 191 total countries.[22] The letter condemned the attacks and warned of the dangers of the group. In defense of the government, the organization stated:[23]

“Above all, it was the Turkish nation which thwarted the plot. It displayed historic solidarity as it took to the streets and remained defiant. Throughout the process, all political parties, members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly [parliament] and the people stood firmly by democracy, democratic politics, democratic institutions and the constitution”.

Turkey has been widely speculated as a conduit for ISIS efforts and operations.[23] In 2014 a former ISIS fighter publicly confirmed that “ISIS saw the Turkish army as its ally…ISIS had to be a Turkish ally because only through Turkey they were able to deploy ISIS fighters to northern parts of the Kurdish cities and towns in Syria”.[24]

Certain reports also implicate the Turkish government as a direct participant in ISIS’ oil trade.[25]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Red Crescent Archives (Turkey) - HAZINE". HAZINE. 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Kızılayı, Türk. "Türk Kızılayı | Türk Kızılay". www.kizilay.org.tr. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  3. ^ "Senior Western official: Links between Turkey and ISIS are now 'undeniable'". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  4. ^ http://stopterrorfinance.org/stories/510634062-qatar-charity-pioneer-and-master-of-terror-finance
  5. ^ "The Turkish Red Crescent Society, from past to present". www.redcross.int. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  6. ^ Kızılayı, Türk. "Türk Kızılayı | NelerYapıyoruz". www.kizilay.org.tr. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  7. ^ Kızılayı, Türk. "Türk Kızılayı | Türk Kızılay". www.kizilay.org.tr. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  8. ^ Kızılayı, Türk. "Türk Kızılayı | Türk Kızılay". www.kizilay.org.tr. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  9. ^ Kızılayı, Türk. "Türk Kızılayı | Türk Kızılay". www.kizilay.org.tr. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  10. ^ Kızılayı, Türk. "Türk Kızılayı | Türk Kızılay". www.kizilay.org.tr. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  11. ^ Kızılayı, Türk. "Türk Kızılayı | Türk Kızılay". www.kizilay.org.tr. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  12. ^ Kızılayı, Türk. "Türk Kızılayı | Türk Kızılay". www.kizilay.org.tr. Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  13. ^ "Turkey and Qatar launch joint aid campaign for Syrians". Middle East Monitor. 2016-12-13. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  14. ^ "Turkey, Qatar launch joint aid campaign in Somalia - World Bulletin". World Bulletin. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  15. ^ "Who are Somalia's al-Shabab?". BBC News. 2016-12-09. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  16. ^ "Qatar Commits Usd 40 Million for Un Operations in Gaza". Qatar Doha. 2017-05-12. 
  17. ^ Reports, CATF. "Qatar Charity, Pioneer and Master of Terror Finance". Retrieved 2017-01-06. 
  18. ^ http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/case_docs/2517.pdf
  19. ^ http://news.findlaw.com/wsj/docs/bif/usarnaout10603prof.pdf
  20. ^ "Qatar Charity, Pioneer and Master of Terror Finance". Retrieved 2017-01-06. 
  21. ^ "Darfur rebels accuse Qatar of supporting government military campaign - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan". www.sudantribune.com. Retrieved 2017-01-06. 
  22. ^ "Turkish Red Crescent sends coup letter to 191 countries". en.azvision.az. Retrieved 2017-01-06. 
  23. ^ a b "Senior Western official: Links between Turkey and ISIS are now 'undeniable'". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-01-06. 
  24. ^ "'ISIS Sees Turkey as Its Ally': Former Islamic State Member Reveals Turkish Army Cooperation". Newsweek. 2014-11-07. Retrieved 2017-01-06. 
  25. ^ Peace-building, David L. Phillips Director of the Program on; Rights; Rights, Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human (2015-12-15). "Research Paper: Turkey-ISIS Oil Trade". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-01-06. 

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