Gaza Peace Volunteers Association Chairman Dr. Nasser al-Sadi has expressed his frustration at a recent government decision to cancel the Turkish charity Kimse Yok Mu's (Is Anybody There?) permission to collect donations for the rest of the year, saying that the charity's ongoing flow of aid to many regions in Turkey and abroad, including Gaza, has now come to a halt.
“Kimse Yok Mu is one of the charities that brings the most help to Gaza. During the war, the charity supplied aid to more than half a million people in the region,” Sadi said in an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman on Saturday.
Stating that his association and Turkey's largest volunteer and global aid organization, Kimse Yok Mu, have jointly embarked on a development project for the 17,000 homeless families in Gaza city, Sadi asserted that the pressure on the charity from the Turkish government will harm the Palestinian people more than anybody else.
"Due to the Turkish government's arbitrary decision to cancel the charity's permission to collect donations, 4,000 Africans suffering from cataracts will not receive eye surgery that had been planned for the upcoming months in many African countries. Moreover, the maintenance of more than 600 water wells in Niger cannot be conducted. Regular medical screenings in many African countries by doctors affiliated with Kimse Yok Mu will not take place any more. In other words, this is really upsetting. Their [the Turkish government's] real aim must be either to delay or postpone the aid to Palestinians and African people,” Said noted.
Following a sudden Cabinet decision to remove public interest status from Kimse Yok Mu, on Thursday the government also cancelled the charity's permission to collect donations until the end of this year. Thus, the charity's flow of aid to many regions in Turkey and abroad, including Gaza, has come to a halt.
In the meantime, various segments of society, including politicians, volunteers and legal experts, are continuing to express their frustration at the recent government decision to remove public interest status from Kimse Yok Mu.
Experienced gynecologist Nurcan Dalan, who provided voluntary medical assistance to patients in Sudan, told Today's Zaman that nobody should have the right to prevent aid from reaching people in need in Africa and across the world. “I do not understand why anybody would block a charitable foundation that has been providing aid to hundreds of thousands people in need in many countries. Why would anybody prevent these charitable works? We will continue to contribute to Kimse Yok Mu whatever the consequences,” Dalan said.
A smear campaign against the organization was launched after the breaking of an anti-corruption investigation, implicating leading Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures, on Dec. 17. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was previously prime minister and AK Party chairman, has targeted Kimse Yok Mu, affiliated with the faith-based Hizmet movement, due to an apparent government grudge against the grassroots movement, which it holds responsible for the corruption investigation.
Felicity Party (SP) leader Mustafa Kamalak, commenting on the government decision, has said there is nothing to worry about, as the decision is likely to be canceled by a Turkish court. “It is obvious that this kind of arbitrary decision does not have a place in a state of law. It is just a matter of time before a stay of execution is issued on the government's decision to remove the public interest status of Kimse Yok Mu,” Kamalak told Today's Zaman. Law and Life Association President Mehmet Kasap is also among those who have denounced the government's arbitrary decision. “The decision has no apparent legal grounds. And it is unlawful for this reason,” Kasap said.
Kimse Yok Mu is active in 113 countries around the world. The charity distributes food and the meat of sacrificed animals, as well as constructing hospitals, schools and orphanages and digging wells to extend a helping hand to those in need.
Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUM-DER) Chairman Ahmet Faruk Ünsal has stated that the government must announce the reason for its cancellation of Kimse Yok Mu's previously obtained permission.
Published on Sunday's Zaman, 12 October 2014, Sunday