Turkey a leading country in humanitarian aid: Deputy PM
ANKARATurkey is a leading country in providing humanitarian assistance to the needy across the world, Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdağ said on Aug. 19.
“Today, everyone knows that Turkey is the leading country in humanitarian aid works,” he said during an event in Ankara, recalling the country’s effort to help over 3 million refugees on its soil as well as various humanitarian endeavors worldwide.
According to the Development Initiative’s (DI) Global Humanitarian Assistance Report released in June, Turkey came in second after the U.S. among countries that contributed the most humanitarian aid in 2016.
Apart from financial aid, Turkey and Turkish charities provide food, health and education to people in several countries, including Somalia, Syria, Bangladesh and Uganda.
Turkey contributed $6 billion in humanitarian aid in 2016 while the U.S. contributed $6.3 billion, DI data showed.
Turkey ranks first when national incomes are taken into account. The country’s gross national income was $857 billion in 2016, while in the U.S. it was $18.7 trillion.
Turkey’s humanitarian aid in 2015 amounted to $3.2 billion. In 2016, this figure had increased by 115 percent to reach $6 billion.
Turkey had been ranked third place in the DI report for years 2013, 2014 and 2015, but it came second in 2016.
“Ongoing and new crises left an estimated 164.2 million people in 47 countries in need of international humanitarian assistance in 2016,” the report said.
The report also showed that the humanitarian aid collected in 2016 across the world totaled $27.3 billion, which met only 40 percent of all requirements.
DI is an independent international development organization that focuses on the role of data in poverty eradication and sustainable development.
Speaking at a photo exhibition on World Humanitarian Day, Akdağ said Turkey was fulfilling its duty to support the needy by using all possible means of resources and would continue to do its best.
The exhibition titled “Those Sheltering in Our Heart” was organized by Turkey’s Directorate General of Press and Information (DGPI) and the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) at the Press Culture and Arts Center in the capital Ankara.
UNHCR Deputy Representative in Turkey Paolo A. Artini and Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey Gabriel Munera-Vinals were among the other attendees at the event.
“If Turkey extends its helping hands to the needy people from Philippines to Somalia today, it is because of our history, culture and religious belief,” Akdağ said.
He said the world should do more to prevent conflicts, namely the one in Syria, which forced millions of people to flee.
Hakan Çavuşoğlu, another Turkish deputy prime minister, also highlighted Turkey’s efforts to help the underprivileged.
Munera-Vinals said attacks on humanitarian aid workers have increased in recent years.
“On World Humanitarian Day, we pay tribute to, and honor, all those who risk their lives while bringing assistance to victims of wars and national disasters worldwide. We commend the bravery of all men and women who continue to work selflessly for the benefits of others,” Munera-Vinals said.
He noted that over 4,000 humanitarian workers became victims of attacks in the past two decades.
Munera-Vinals also applauded Turkey for its role in humanitarian aid efforts across the world.
“We salute the countless Turkish men and women who work as humanitarians in Turkey and around the globe,” he said.
Artini said the world was facing new crises every passing day. “The main challenge is to respond to so many crises at the same time,” he added.
He also said there were 158 major attacks against humanitarian aid organizations in 2016. “A total of 288 aid workers were killed, injured or kidnapped,” he added.