By Sorwar Alam
Turkey is the leading country in providing humanitarian assistance to the needy people across the world, Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag said on Saturday.
Speaking at a photo exhibition on World Humanitarian Day, Akdag 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" (sic) 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.
Recalling Turkey’s effort to help over 3 million refugees on its soil as well as various humanitarian endeavors worldwide, Akdaga said: “Today everyone knows that Turkey is the leading country in humanitarian aid works.”
“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.”
He said the world should do more to prevent conflicts, namely the one in Syria, which forced millions of people to flee.
288 aid workers killed, injured or kidnapped in 2016
Hakan Cavusoglu, another Turkish deputy prime minster, also highlighted Turkey’s efforts to help the needy.
EU representative Gabriel 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.”
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.
UNHRC representative Paolo A. 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.
Turkey hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world. The country has spent around $25 billion for helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
In 2008, the UN General Assembly designated Aug. 19 as World Humanitarian Day to raise awareness about humanitarian assistance worldwide and the people, who risk their lives to provide it. The date marks the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.