The Istanbul branch of Soho House, a global members-only social club, has initiated outrage in Turkey’s social media after announcing a donation campaign for the survivors of the 6 February earthquake.
The club informed its members that, in addition to donations they raised in the early days of the disaster, their efforts will continue with Turkish menus to be offered in its branches in Europe and the United Kingdom. The menu, which many in social media dubbed as “the earthquake menu” includes meatballs or mantı, dumplings, and for each order a donation of £1 or EUR1 will be allocated for a disaster relief fund.
Soho House Istanbul also invited its members to “knit scarfs and beanies for those in need while drinking a warm tea” on 19 February.
Following the announcement of the campaign, many on social media reacted furiously, accusing the club of losing its mind and of using the earthquake for entertainment.
“Take those meatballs. Take those mantıs. Take those scarves, beanies. Do not make me talk more. Shame on you,” said İzzet Çaba, a prominent name in Istanbul’s entertainment sector.
“Soho House exhibits an exemplary earthquake sensitivity. This is not a relief event or campaign for the victims of the earthquake,” wrote on Twitter Hüseyin Çobanoğlu, a lawyer in Istanbul.