Several Turkish non-governmental organizations on Thursday launched “Bread and Blanket for Syria”, a nation-wide aid campaign for civil war-stricken Syrians.
A meeting was held at Istanbul’s Halic Convention Hall for the inauguration of the campaign and it was attended by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay, head of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs Mehmet Gormez, President of the Turkish Red Crescent Society Ahmet Lutfi Akar, head of Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) Fuat Oktay, Chairman of Hak-Is Labor Union Mahmut Arslan and Chairman of Memur-Sen Civil Servants Union Ahmet Gundogdu.
The aid campaign is supported by nearly 200 NGOs including Union of Civil Society Organizations of the Islamic World, Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association of Turkey (MUSIAD), Turkish Volunteer Institutions Foundation, Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH), Deniz Feneri Association, Cansuyu Aid Association, Yardimeli Association, Ensar Foundation, Verenel Association and Istanbul International Brotherhood and Assistance Association.
The online campaign — at websites www.suriyeicinbirekmek.com and www.breadforsyria.com in Turkish, English and Arabic — is aimed at extending humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees who face severe shortages of food and electricity as well as cold weather.
News media outlets including television channels, daily newspapers, radio channels and news agencies are also supporting the aid effort.
An international inauguration of the campaign is set to be made in January next year.
Turkish government to help NGOs in aid campaign for Syrians
Turkish Deputy Premier Besir Atalay said with the “bread and blanket” campaign for Syrians they only aimed at extending helping hand to the neighbour Syrians who were living under harsh conditions due to winter.
Speaking at the promotion meeting of the “bread and blanket” campaign for Syrians in Istanbul, Atalay said the government acclaimed the project organized by around 200 NGOs.
He said the project was not for refugees but for Syrians in Syria and only cash grants would be collected, adding that all the mechanisms in Turkey would be mobilized to carry those aids to the civilians safe and secure.
Atalay said the governmental authorities would help NGOs throughout the process.
Turkish NGOs launch major aid campaign for war-stricken Syrians
Akbulut: Syrians are in urgent need of help
Head of the Turkish Volunteer Institutions Foundation, Hamza Akbulut, said donations from the campaign would be distributed to Syrians outside Turkey who struggled to hold on to life in the face of cold weather, hunger and unsanitary conditions.
“The winter has arrived. It is freezing cold out there and people barely find a shelter. Bread is scarce, basic food items have been used up and starvation has set in,” Akbulut said.
“We have left aside our names, institutions and political thoughts. We have made a poster by using a photograph of an old Syrian woman staying in a camp in Lebanon, we have made a short film and created a website. All these civil organizations gathered here today have embarked on a joint humanitarian effort,” Akbulut said.
“We have put aside all political, religious, sectarian and economic discussions. We do not debate on whose side we should be on. We do not question who is right or wrong” Akbulut said.
Turkish Red Crescent deliver nearly 40 thousand tons of flour to Syrians
President of the Turkish Red Crescent Society Ahmet Lutfi Akar said the society had received 50 thousand tons of wheat to be ground into nearly 40 thousand tons of flour for distribution in Syria.
“We are trying to meet the needs of the Syrian people from across the border. As the Turkish Red Crescent we are at the service of this campaign. I believe that this effort will be successful. It will be a great honor for us to deliver the bread and the blanket to the people in Syria,” he said.
Head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate calls all Shiites to donate
President of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate Mehmet Gormez urged all Muslims including “our Shiite brothers” to contribute to the aid drive.
“When a person dies in Syria, the entire humanity dies. When 90 people waiting for bread at a bakery are massacred in Syria, the humanity is massacred 90 times. Humanity is taken hostage. With our aid effort, we will not only help the Syrian people but as a nation we will also save humanity from being a hostage,” Gormez said.
Gormez said 600 religious scholars have been killed in Syria in the past several months, adding that nearly 300 others have fled to Turkey.
“I appeal to the entire Muslim world, to all Sunnis and Shiites, regardless of their sects, beliefs, dispositions of faith. I call on all our brothers to direct their attention to massacre of humanity in Syria. This is not only an issue of being a Muslim. This is in fact a matter of humanity. I appeal to the humanity to reach out to our Syrian brothers, to civilians caught up in the cross fire, to children, women and the elderly,” Gormez said.
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Reported by Anatolia Agency