There has been a dramatic decline in donations for the sacrifice of animals by Turkey’s top charity organization, the the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, since the organization was involved in a series of scandals following deadly earthquakes in the country earlier this year, the Sözcü daily reported.
Kızılay received donations across Turkey for 14,000 animals to be sacrificed for this year’s Eid al-Adha, a four-day holiday that began on Wednesday, compared to 42,000 last year.
Sacrificial animals are slaughtered during Eid al-Adha in remembrance of the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael to God. Some people make donations to charity organizations like Kızılay to slaughter animals on their behalf and distribute the meat to the people in need.
Kızılay set the cost of donation for a sacrificial animal at TL 5,950 ($228) this year.
The fall in the number of donations to Kızılay is believed to be a result of the erosion of its prestige and credibility since the organization was found out to have sold tents rather than donating them to those made homeless by two powerful earthquakes that hit the country’s south on Feb. 6.
Murat Ağırel, a columnist for the Cumhuriyet daily, revealed in late February that Kızılay had sold 2,050 tents to the Foundation of Anatolian People and Peace Platform (AHBAP), Turkish rock star Haluk Levent’s relief organization, three days after the earthquakes left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Kızılay sold the tents for 46 million Turkish lira ($2.4 million), rather than donating them.
The revelation led to the emergence of other claims of similar sales in the past, including the sale of second-hand items donated to the charity, fueling debate especially on social media as to whether Kızılay was a relief organization or a for-profit company.
Sözcü said Kızılay has also experienced a 60 percent drop in other kinds of donations since the earthquakes, which left more than 50,000 people dead.
In the wake of mounting criticism, Kızılay’s chairman, Kerem Kınık, decided in May not to run again for leadership of the relief organization.