Restaurants offering free food to the needy for 70 years in Turkey’s east
ELAZIĞ – Anadolu AgencyRestaurants in the Karakoçan district of the eastern province of Elazığ have been offering free food to those in need for the past 70 years as part of a practice adopted years ago.
Restaurant owners in Karakoçan adopted the decision to implement the “Table for the Impoverished” 70 years ago and have been serving free food to those in need at tables reserved for them ever since.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, restaurant owner Mehmet Öztürk said he has been implementing the practice for the past 35 years, adding that it has become a tradition that new generation business owners are also adopting.
“There are impoverished people coming from our district and outside. If the person says, ‘I’m poor and I have no money. Can you give me food?’ we say ‘With great pleasure’ and serve,” Öztürk said, adding that locals are laying emphasis on the need to help each other.
“We reserved our first table to poor people. Some 20 people come here and have meals each day. We receive prayers and that’s the only thing left to us. I survived two fatal accidents and I didn’t even bleed in both of them. Even if I made billions of liras, it wouldn’t make me as happy as helping those in need. This is the biggest gain for me,” he added.
Saying that they are serving food at the diner without hurting anyone’s pride, Öztürk noted that “otherwise it’s better not to give food.”
“If you are going to offend them, it’s better not to serve,” he also said.