In our world today, war, natural disasters, poor resource management and unjust systems have forced billions of people to live with poor health, while millions of others die or are killed amid these circumstances. Aside from natural disasters such as climate change and earthquakes, conflicts continue in 40 regions around the world. While dozens of people are massacred every day, 25,000 others become refugees. As the world develops, injustice increases and millions of people languish in despair.
There are also, however, "good people" in the world who rebel against the global system that destroys nature and causes war, leaving people helpless. These benevolent people rush to help wherever there is a war, disaster or neglect. Last week in Geneva, there was a meeting of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), at which those “good people” met. Turkey was praised and the Turkish Red Crescent was the center of attention at the meeting, attended by representatives from 192 countries.
There were two reasons for this. One is that Turkey is the most benevolent state in the world. The other is the global performance of the Turkish Red Crescent, which has 151 years of history and rushes for help without state aid. The Turkish Red Crescent ranks first among the world's aid organizations with its performance and management of generating revenue. We discussed both the meeting in Geneva and the Red Crescent with Kerem Kınık, president of the Turkish Red Crescent and vice president of IFRC. The Turkish Red Crescent was founded 151 years ago and IFRC was founded 100 years ago, Kınık said, continuing: “These two structures serve people in the most problematic areas of the world with 15 million volunteers and a budget of $30 billion. This meeting is the highest level of summit of both the federation and the countries that are party to the Geneva Convention. It gathers with a very ancient tradition.”
The meetings addressed a wide range of issues from migration to climate change, from the protection of people in conflict zones to the collapse of cities, and discussed new approaches. The meeting touched on the fact that the world is no longer unclaimed and, instead, the "most developed humanitarian network in the world" is in charge. At the moment, aid organizations around the world are trying to figure out Turkey's secret to hosting the greatest number of refugees in the world through its aid organizations, with the Turkish Red Crescent creating its own civilian model.
“In the Red Crescent-Red Cross Federation, the Turkish Red Crescent is considered an example as a founding element and model-setter and is always seen as a playmaker,” Kınık said. As for setting a model, the Red Crescent is currently present in 36 out of the 192 countries in the world, and the Red Cross is present in many other countries. All of these organizations, with the exception of the Turkish Red Crescent, receive state aid, while the Red Crescent maintains the deep-rooted waqf (foundation) tradition. It survives through civil aids and its commercial activities. Although it experienced ebbs and flows in the recent past, the Turkish Red Crescent has reached an incredible performance, particularly in the last five years, increasing its budget to $6 billion from $900 million.
The Turkish Red Crescent has nearly 3,000 employees and tens of thousands of volunteers. Kınık summed up the activities of the organization: “Today we operate in around 50 countries. We have our own offices in 13 countries. We have reached out to 28 million people. Of that, 7 million are outside, and 21 million are inside (Turkey). We award scholarships to 500,000 students. There are tens of thousands of people we support in cash.”
The success story of Turkey and the Turkish Red Crescent will mark the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva next week, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will also attend.
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