Turkish charity Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anybody There?) is still extending a helping hand to those in need, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, despite restrictions imposed by the government on the organization's ability to campaign for donations.
Kimse Yok Mu is a charitable organization that is active in 113 countries around the world.
In October 2014, the Cabinet restricted Kimse Yok Mu's right to collect donations without obtaining prior permission from the relevant authorities, and as a result the organization cannot use written or visual media to promote their donation campaigns, leaving the Kimse Yok Mu website as their primary means of providing information about donation campaigns.
According to critics, the decision to restrict Kimse Yok Mu's ability to collect donations was a part of the government's ongoing smear campaign being conducted against the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. Kimse Yok Mu is inspired by the Gülen movement. The government has been conducting a war against the Gülen movement because it claims that the movement was behind a major corruption scandal that implicated various high-ranking government officials and pro-government businessmen that went public on Dec. 17, 2013, what it says was part of an effort to topple the government. The movement has denied those allegations.
Saying that the organization has been conducting various campaigns for Ramadan -- charitable contributions being a central tenet of the holy month -- such as distributing food to people in need and providing clothes to orphans, both in Turkey and abroad, Kimse Yok Mu Deputy Director General Levent Eyüboğlu told Today's Zaman that the charity campaigns of the organization will continue despite the government's restrictions and what is seen as arbitrary oppression.
“We provide food for the poor and needy families in Turkey, with the help of our volunteers. We have just provided 25,000 packages of food to families in all over Turkey, via our 31 braches, ahead of Ramadan,” Eyüboğlu said.
Eyüboğlu added: “Kimse Yok Mu is planning to provide around $438,000 in aid to needy people in 35 countries across the globe. Due to some difficulties we are experiencing with regard to collecting donations, this amount may change. However, it is certain that our donations [provided to the Kimse Yok Mu] and aid [provided by the organization to the needy] will continue both at home and abroad.”
Eyüboğlu emphasized that the government restrictions will not prevent them from doing their duty.
Donations can be sent to the association's bank accounts as a remittance or made by credit card on the charity's website (http://www.kimseyokmu.org.tr/).
Published on Today's Zaman, 17 June 2015, Wednesday