CAPETOWN-FİMA GENEL KURULU BAĞIMLILIK KONUŞMASI

GREEN CRESCENT SOCIETY

Addiction is slavery! We, the humanity, have to be against all kinds of addiction!

One of the most important requirements to prevent evil and addiction is to fight with scientific methods against industrial powers which encourage addiction. We know that addiction industry reach our people and youth every day in different ways. We also realize that it is hard to stop this industry with stereotyped mottoes and methods. Therefore, the most important activities of NGOs against addiction should be carrying out serious scientific studies about the ways of how problems occur and how to cope with, distrubition of those scientific studies worldwide, and discussion of how to fight and to prevent addiction at the international and national levels.

The problems that related to addiction do not arise only from our social, administrative and moral structure. Today, a structure, which is expanding its influence, has emerged all over the world through mass media and tools and carriers of global culture. We should initiate a more active period in the international arena with purposes that act with conscience of the world. Evil do not arise from our inner structure and the solution is not a process that we can overcome by ourselves.

The Green Crescent Society is the oldest public health organization in Turkey. It was established in 1920 in solidarity with the international temperance movements, which were significant mass movements during the post war years. Turkish Green Crescent Society was founded by a group of patriotic intellectuals from a diverse set of backgrounds in 1920 following the period when British army occupied Istanbul, as a response to the British attempts to distribute booze and drugs free of charge in Istanbul in an effort to undermine the resistance against the occupation. The founders sensed the upcoming dangers of alcohol and drug addiction that resulted decline in the resistance against the occupation especially among young people. The patriotic intellectuals established the “Green Crescent”,  with the name of “Hilal-i Ahdar” in Istanbul in order to warn Turkish society.

The Green Crescent is a non-profit and non-governmental organization that empowers the youth and adults through factual information about drugs so they can make informed decisions against different kind of addictions including alcohol, tobacco, drug, gambling etc. The society historically focused on alcohol policies until 1960. Today, however, it deals with not only alcohol, but also addiction of tobacco, drugs, gambling and even technology. The Green Crescent, being established in 1920, was given the status of Public-Beneficial Society by the Turkish government in 1934. (Public beneficial society status is given to the organizations that serve for public benefits)

As a ninety-three year-old organization of Turkey in the field of addiction, today we have branches and representatives in almost all provinces of the country. We have more than 30.000 members and thousands of volunteers across the country.

The Green Crescent Society contributes to public health by developing evidence-based prevention programs and advocating for legal, social and environmental changes on the fight against addiction.

We fight against addictions that destruct the mental and physical health of the youth in cooperation with the private sector, governmental bodies and international organizations.

We work to develop contemporary strategies for dealing with consumption of addictive substances and for the prevention of addiction by using evidence-based scientific methods. Our efforts are especially focused on carrying out preventive social and advocacy activities aiming to create public opinion and raise awareness of the decision-makers and the general public.

As a public health organization, we mostly cooperate with educational institutions for our preventive activities. There are Green Crescent Clubs in every secondary and high school across the country. These Clubs function in compliance with the rules of the Turkish Ministry of National Education. Peer education activities are implemented through these clubs to keep children away from harmful habits.

In addition to peer education activities, each year, the anniversary of the foundation of the Green Crescent Society is celebrated as the Green Crescent Week in Turkey in the first week of March. The syllabuses of secondary and high schools cover contents on harmful habits, addictions and the concept of the Green Crescent during that week, and great numbers of activities are carried out in schools across the country during the entire month. Also during March every year, the Green Crescent Headquarter and branches launch several campaigns targeting young people.

To give a recent example, we have launched an educational project in Istanbul this year under the title of ‘The Green Crescent looking for Young Leaders’ through the Green Crescent clubs in 967 secondary schools in Istanbul. 5000 students have been educated as Green Crescent leaders, and the Green Crescent Society has been observing and helping the activities of these students by various means such as conducting surveys in their schools. During the new educational year, we will be extending this project nationwide and we will reach almost 4 million secondary school students across the country.

Parallel to our national fight against addiction, we intend to widen our scope and promote establishment of similar institutions worldwide. Of course the first step should include our natural hinterland (i.e. Islamic countries and FIMA fraternity). If you kindly accept to go forward, you will most probably be the pioneers of Green Crescent movement in your respective countries to make our world smoke-free, alcohol-free, drug-free and to protect our next generations from all kinds of addictions which are evils of the modern world.

Turkish Green Crescent Society will be at your service to share its expertise, know-how and documents in the founding phase of your Green Crescent Societies! I hope, in the near future, we altogether can achieve to launch the World Federation of Green Crescent Societies for a better future for our next generations!

Thank you!