November 26, 2014

Council of State says Cabinet decision on Kimse Yok Mu unlawful

The Council of State has issued a stay of execution on a recent Cabinet decision to rescind the Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anybody There) charity organization's right to collect charitable donations, saying the decision is against the law.

The 10th Chamber of the Council of State announced on Tuesday its decision regarding an appeal by the charity against the October Cabinet decision that removed Kimse Yok Mu's right to collect donations without obtaining permission from relevant authorities. Indicating that the Cabinet argued the charity was involved in irregularities in collecting donations when justifying its decision, the court said it found no irregularity that would lead the charity to lose its qualification as an organization that exhibits “accountability, transparency, institutionalization and reliability.”

The court said the decision was made by a majority vote. With the court's decision, the charity's rights have been reinstated. The court cited reports prepared by inspectors assigned by the Interior Ministry in 2013 and 2014 that found no irregularities in the activities of the charity organization.

Kimse Yok Mu is Turkey's only aid organization that holds UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) special consultative status. It developed internationally recognized relief programs in partnership with the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) in 2013. It was also granted the Turkish Grand National Assembly Outstanding Service Award in 2013 under Justice and Development Party (AK Party) rule.

The organization has had many of its rights as a charity revoked by the ruling AK Party since corruption investigations went public in December 2013, due to its affiliation with the Hizmet movement. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan holds the Hizmet movement, a grassroots social initiative known for its educational and cultural programs, responsible for the investigations, which implicated some of his inner political circle and family members.

Kimse Yok Mu is active in 113 countries around the world. The charity distributes food, including the meat of sacrificed animals; constructs hospitals, schools and orphanages; and digs wells to extend a helping hand to those in need.

The Council of State decision effectively allows for the charity's ongoing flow of aid to many regions in Turkey and abroad, including Gaza, to resume.

Published on Today's Zaman, 26 November 2014, Wednesday