The International Federation of the Red Crescent and the Red Cross Societies (IFRC) were originally formed in 1919 and now have around 186 national societies worldwide. The IFRC is overseen by the International Federation of the Red Cross (ICRC) which has authority under international humanitarian law to protect the life and dignity of the victims of international and internal armed conflicts.
Most of us would recognise the Red Cross symbol as the international humanitarian organisation, but the Red Crescent became a symbol used by the Ottoman Empire during the Turkish-Prussian war from 1876 to 1878 as it did not want to offend its Muslim soldiers. It became an officially recognised symbol in 1929 and now 33 of the 186 national societies use this symbol due to their mainly Muslim populations.
The North Cyprus Turkish Red Crescent Society was formed on November 6th 1974 and gained its national society status in May 1975 after the declaration of Independence for North Cyprus. Today, it has branches in Lefkoşa, Famagusta, Güzelyurt, Esentepe, Yeni Iskele, Kyrenia and Dipkarpaz as well as its main headquarters in Lefkoşa. They work under the principles of the Federation which are to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for the human being and to prevent and alleviate human suffering, without any discrimination based on nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.
The society holds regular fund raising activities via its volunteer groups, attends festivals and other social gatherings to encourage new membership and deals with international appeals for help such as the Palestinian/Gaza conflict for example. Often with its partners like mobile phone operator KKTCell they will work to source funds through monetary appeal campaigns, with funds being spent on medical, food and other aid supplies. Teams from the society also often travel to countries of conflict, working alongside other national societies of the Red Crescent.
The Society is also on hand to work in conjunction with other emergency services in North Cyprus such as the fire, ambulance and civil defence teams in times of need and potential disaster.