One of the oldest humanitarian organizations in the world, the Turkish Red Crescent, Türk Kızılayı, celebrated its 146th anniversary with a festival in central Istanbul on Wednesday.

The Turkish Red Crescent – originally called 'Turk Kizilayi' – was founded by a group of volunteer doctors on June 11, 1868; since then the organization has provided many kinds of humanitarian relief in Turkey and abroad.

Head of the organization, Ahmet Lutfi Akar, stated that members of the foundation were supporting and helping people not only in Turkey in disaster areas overseas, such as the flood disaster in Bosnia-Herzegovina or in Myanmar. 

The organization distributed 35 tons of food along with cleaning and building materials in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where at least 60 people died in the Balkans' worst floods in 120 years.  

During today’s event children performed charity walks along the coast of central Karakoy district of Istanbul, many with historical money boxes hung around their necks – reflecting the Ottoman roots of the organization.

General director of the organization, Dr. Mehmet Gulluoglu, noted they were proud of being members of an institution which has continued its activities uninterrupted for 146 years, surviving World Wars and the 1919 Turkish War of Independence.

"Turkish Red Crescent is one of the inherited institutions to the Turkish Republic from the Ottoman Empire and it maintains to give aid with the help of donators and volunteers," he added.