Turkey celebrates 145 years of humanitarian work at home and abroad

Publié: 11 juin 2013 10:39 CET

2013 is a big year for the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. Not only do we celebrate 150 years since the founding of the Red Cross by Henry Dunant, but 11 June marks the 145th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Red Crescent Society. In 1868, a group of idealistic doctors established a society to bring aid to the wounded and sick during conflict. The first president of the associate was Dr Pasha, Marko.

In 1877, the organization was given the name the Ottoman Hilali Ahmer Society, and this changed to the Turkey Hilali Ahmer Society in 1923 before finally becoming the Turkish Red Crescent Society in 1935. Since then the organization has worked to alleviate suffering within Turkey, but has also offered a helping hand beyond its borders, including in the Balkans, Central Asia, Middle East, Africa, South Asia and the Caucasus. The Turkish Red Crescent Society has operated in 78 different countries.

The mission of the society is not just limited to working during periods of war and disaster – such as the major operations currently ongoing in response to the crisis in Syria – but also to contribute to the social solidarity in the country, providing welfare and housing services, and delivering health and nutritional information across the country.

Over 145 years, the Turkish Red Crescent Society has changed almost beyond recognition, and yet the mission – to provide assistance to those in need regardless of their ethnicity, religion or beliefs – remains and is seen each day in the programmes currently taking place within the country, on its border with Syria and across the world. What changes will the next 145 years bring?