Turkish rescue association head Nasuh Mahruki resigns
Turkish Search and Rescue Association (AKUT) head Nasuh Mahruki resigned from his duty on Nov. 30, Doğan News Agency has reported.
“I no longer have signing authority. I will perform my duty as an honorary head. AKUT was under pressure due to my oppositional discourse so I have chosen to do [resign]. From now on, Saygun Gökşin will perform this duty,” he said.
AKUT confirmed the resignation of Mahruki in a written statement.
“We thank our honorary head, Ali Nasuh Mahruki, who was part of AKUT’s becoming a world-renowned and appreciated NGO, for both his principled and determined personality and his vision. We wish success to new Board Chairman Saygun Gökşin, General Secretary Ebru Atalay Alp and new board member Recep Şalcı,” it said.
Mahruki was released on probation shortly after being referred to court with a demand for his arrest on Oct. 24 for allegedly “insulting” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Mahruki, a famous mountain climber who is widely known in Turkey for his volunteer rescue work and social projects, had testified to the prosecutor at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse after Erdoğan’s lawyer filed a complaint regarding his remarks on a program on the pro-government private broadcaster Kanal A. Despite the demand for his arrest, he was released on probation.
Founded in 1996, AKUT is Turkey’s biggest rescue operation NGO and gained widespread acclaim thanks to its responses during natural disasters, especially its efforts after the 1999 Marmara Earthquake that claimed over 17,000 lives.
The association recently made headlines when the Istanbul Governor’s Office ordered it to move out of the building it rented for 49 years, citing rights problems. Mahruki claimed that the decision was politically motivated and noted that it came after he had spoken against Erdoğan in the TV broadcast.