Turks Deliberate Foreign Aid to Greece

Article Summary
In recent years, Turkey has established an exemplary record for its humanitarian aid, including to Sudan, Southeast Asia and Israel. Now, Turkey’s historical enemy, Greece, is in the midst of an economic crisis. Turkish journalist Erdal Safak argues that his country should not hesitate to extend a hand to its Western neighbor.

The UN has announced some good news on the situation in Somalia: The famine [that has plagued the country for nearly a year] is over, thanks to increased rainfall and [better management of] humanitarian assistance. Six months after the U.N. declared Somalia's capital a famine zone, the [immediate crisis] is now said to be over.

Turkey was the most generous country when it came to providing the Somalians with aid, which exceeded $280 million. Given that US assistance amounted to $105 million, it is safe to say that Turkey’s support to Somalia has been exceptional.

The Turkish aid program to Somalia is still operational. Turkey is now involved in the construction of hospitals and repairing the Mogadishu airport. Turkish doctors and aid volunteers would never leave Somalia alone.

Turkey was the country which sent the most aid to Pakistan in 2010 for flood relief. Before this, Turkey generously helped victims of the tsunami that ravaged Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia [in 2005].

These are all notable examples of how Turkish people show solidarity with those who need help. Shouldn’t we display the same level of compassion and understanding to our next door neighbor, Greece? The lines of people waiting to be served a plate of mashed potatoes by the municipality are getting longer by the day. People are abandoning their children and some have even committed suicide [over the dire economic situation]. Homeless people fill the streets. Not long ago, these homeless people had jobs, families and a warm place to live.

When I read about the tragedies taking place as a result of the crisis in Greece, I was reduced to tears.

Our traditions and convictions compel us to reach out to the destitute. Our neighbors are hungry; they sleep in the streets. Our neighbors are desperate; they don’t have money to meet their medical needs. Our neighbors are in the worst condition since the Germans occupied their lands during World War II. Can we not hear their cries? Are we not going to show them that we can be their friends during such times?

Found in: turkish foreign policy, turkish-greek relations, humanitarian assistance, greek economic crisis, foreign aid, european financial crisis

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