Volunteers in hurry at Ukraine Embassy in Ankara
Pictures of families fleeing the Russian onslaught have profoundly moved many Turkish people, even though most have no ties with the country on the far side of the Black Sea.
Emre Canbulat’s only experience of Ukraine is a visit to the city of Lviv.
“But I just felt I had to do something now,” he explains.
Canbulat, an elegant legal adviser in his 40s, acknowledges he is “deeply upset” by the news coming out of Ukraine.
“I contacted some friends who work with the medical sector, and when I told them it was for Ukraine, I managed to buy stocks for well below the market price,” he says.
Selahattin Ayaltın, by contrast, knows Ukraine well.
He worked as a mechanic in Kiev a decade ago and admits news of the conflict has brought him to tears.
“I couldn’t just stand by and do nothing. I really like the Ukrainians,” he explains, visibly moved.
On Feb. 28, three lorries left the embassy for Ukraine, loaded with pasta, tinned food, sunflower oil, toilet paper, medicine, blankets and toys.
In the space of a few days, the campaign has raised donations worth more than 2 million Turkish Liras ($144,000).
For its part, the main mobile phone operator, Turkcell, is offering calls and texts to Ukraine free of charge.