ANKARA – Setting a new target, the Turkish Red Crescent aims to help 10 million people during the holy month of Ramadan.
“We deliver aid to people in Turkey; we helped 145,000 families with US$75. We also operate in more than 35 countries this Ramadan,” head of the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay), Kerem Kinik, announced in an interview with Anadolu Agency on June 6.
Kinik added that iftar meals were distributed to people in Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Burma’s Rakhine State, Palestine, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Balkans, and the Caucasus.
“This year our budget for domestic aid is US$10.8 million. We also deliver food to 200,000 families in Turkey. We organize iftars and break our fasts with families,” he continued.
Moreover, more than 1.3 million refugees in Turkey are benefiting from debit cards issued by Kizilay as part of the UN-backed Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) program.
According to Kinik, more than 1.3 million people and 223,000 households to date have benefitted from the Kizilay card, but the organization hopes to increase that figure.
“Our initial target was to reach 1.3 million and we’ve already achieved it, now the new targeted number of beneficiaries is 1.5 million,” Kinik said.
First of a Kind
Kizilay is the largest humanitarian organization in Turkey and is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The organization was founded in 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 Islamic World. 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.
Internationally, the Red Cross flag is the color-switched version of the flag of Switzerland, the country whom its nationals have initiated the famous international organization.
In 1906, to put an end to the argument of the Ottoman Empire that the flag took its roots from Christianity, the Red Crescent emblem came into use by the organization as a color reversal of the Ottoman flag rather than an Islamic religious symbol.
As a result, only 33 states in the Islamic World, which is constituted of more than 66 countries, have recognized it to date. While the rest of the Muslim nations use the international Red Cross sign.