October 3, 2014

Irregularities mark so-called Cabinet decision on Kimse Yok Mu

After the recent controversial Cabinet decision to rescind the Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anybody There) charity organization's right to collect charitable donations, some irregularity claims have been raised by observers who say this decision was taken arbitrarily with no basis.

According to Boğaziçi Lawyers' Association President Bilal Çalışır, it is obvious that the decision to revoke Kimse Yok Mu's right to collect donations is irregular and arbitrary, as there is no justification for the decision.

Çalışır stated that the charity organization was given permission to collect donations after it acquired public interest status with a Cabinet decision in 2007. A Cabinet decision is necessary to revoke this status.

“There are reports prepared by inspectors. Those reports don't include any practices that would cause the association to lose its public interest status. The Cabinet decision should also be examined in terms of structure. A signed copy of this decision should be sent to the opposing party. A copy with wet signatures on it should have been sent to Kimse Yok Mu. However, an unsigned copy was sent to the association. The Cabinet decision should have been made with a unanimous vote. If just one minister opposes in the vote, this decision cannot be carried out. The decision should be made duly,” Çalışır stated.

Çalışır noted that it is not certain whether the decision was made unanimously or by a majority vote, as the copy sent to Kimse Yok Mu was unsigned. Çalışır also recalled what Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç stated regarding the decision to ban Kimse Yok Mu from collecting donations. Arınç had said that the decision did not come to the ministers to be signed.

Çalışır said the government might have thought of the process this way: “There might be some opposing ministers. We should not open the decision to signature. The unlawful practices have already become common in Turkey. We should send this decision as it is. The Council of State will resend this decision due to the defect in the form. If it [the Council of State] cancels it, it can cancel it.”

Çalışır stated that they have not yet learned for sure whether there is a signed copy of the decision.

İsmail Cingöz, the president of Kimse Yok Mu, announced the Cabinet decision via his official Twitter account on Thursday. Kimse Yok Mu will no longer be able to collect donations from the public.

Abdulbaki Erdoğmuş -- the representative of the Civil Political Platform, which includes many intellectuals from different political backgrounds -- slammed the recent Kimse Yok Mu decision.

Erdoğmuş said that he was shocked and frightened after learning about the Cabinet decision regarding Kimse Yok Mu.

“[The government] has now started to mock our sensitivity. This pressure and tyranny will come to an end one day. It is not possible to escape divine retribution,” he said.

Erdoğmuş added: “This decision, which has been made based on no testimony or evidence and is completely arbitrary, I evaluate as nothing more than revenge. [This] saddens and worries us all.”

He also stated that no person with a conscience could make such a decision on the eve of the Eid al-Adha holiday, a period when collected donations will be distributed to oppressed, orphaned and victimized people living in various parts of the world. “Neither the conscience of a Muslim nor the conscience of any other person accepts this,” Erdoğmuş stated.

Kimse Yok Mu, which is affiliated with the faith-based Hizmet movement, became the target of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government as part of a smear campaign launched against institutions affiliated with the movement. The government blames the movement for the Dec. 17 major corruption scandal that implicated many important figures of the AK Party government.

Kimse Yok Mu is the only aid organization in Turkey that holds UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) special consultative status, and it began to develop internationally recognized relief programs in partnership with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in 2013. It was also awarded the Turkish Grand National Assembly Outstanding Service Award in 2013, under AK Party rule.

Published on Today's Zaman, 03 October 2014, Friday