Despite the latest step in a government crackdown on Turkey's UN-affiliated aid organization, Kimse Yok Mu, in which two banks blocked the organization's accounts, administrators for the charity have said they are still able to collect money through their other accounts.
On Monday, Garanti Bank and Akbank unlawfully blocked the bank accounts of Kimse Yok Mu, citing a government decision on Sept. 22 to remove the organization's ability to raise donations for its campaigns without prior permission.
Yusuf Yıldırım, Kimse Yok Mu's foreign aid coordinator, told Today's Zaman on Tuesday that over 3 million donors have been able to deposit money through other banks. He noted that in addition to three major branches in İstanbul, Kimse Yok Mu has 40 branches in Turkey, and that donors could make donations in person as well. Yıldırım criticized the efforts to undermine Kimse Yok Mu's global aid campaigns and noted that those receiving help from the organization will be hurt by these actions.
Opposition: Undermining CSO without court decision a ‘serious issue'
The opposition has also criticized the actions against Kimse Yok Mu.
Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Levent Gök said on Tuesday that the unlawful treatment of Kimse Yok Mu is unacceptable. If an investigation ascertains that a crime has been committed, it should be tried in independent courts, and attempting to discredit civil society organizations is a serious issue, Gök said. "The rule of law is required for everyone, and I reject this treatment of Kimse Yok Mu," Gök stated.
According to Gök, the government is attempting to eliminate everyone that is not one of them by means of exerting pressure.
Gök also complained about the government's indifference towards existing court rules by giving the example of the Ak Saray, a new presidential complex that was originally designed as an office for the prime minister. The lavish office and residential complex has been at the center of debates because it was built despite a court decision stipulating the end of the construction due to its location in a protected area.
Kimse Yok Mu can account for each kuruş of donation
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem office director of Kimse Yok Mu, Harun Tokak, said on Tuesday on a TV program that the organization is able to explain what each and every kuruş is spent on. Challenging the government by saying "they can try us in any court they want," Tokak underlined that despite a year-long investigation into Kimse Yok Mu, the government has not been able to find a single piece of evidence pointing to fraud.
Tokak said the Hizmet movement, which inspires the work of Kimse Yok Mu, has been delivering help to people all around the world, regardless of religion, language or ethnicity.
Published on Today's Zaman, 28 October 2014, Tuesday