Turkey launches national campaign to support low-income families during pandemic

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday launched a “national solidarity campaign” to offer financial support to those in the country’s lowest income bracket worst hit by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The campaign, titled “We are enough for each other,” will be funded by donations from the public, and the accumulated funds will be allocated through mukhtars, elected officials for neighbourhoods and villages.

“I am kicking off the campaign with a donation of my salary for seven months,” Erdoğan said.

The Turkish Cabinet has pledged a total of 5.2 million liras ($ 790,000) to the campaign, the president said.

“We expect the biggest contribution from our businessmen and philanthropists,” Erdoğan said.

“Our citizens who were planning to give alms for [the Islamic holy month of] Ramadan don’t have to wait. They can join the campaign and take their place in the race for charity,” the president added.

Philanthropists have already pledged a total of 11 million dollars, Erdoğan announced.

Turkey is “more than 100 percent self-sufficient” in the production of cereals and vegetables, and has increased production of legumes, oils and cleaning supplies, Erdoğan said.

“We have shown that as a state, we stand with our people of all creeds with our financial and social support packages,” Erdoğan said. “Together with our nation, we will overcome this calamity, through the mercy of our Lord.”

Turkey is one of the countries closest to overcoming the COVID-19, Erdoğan said.

The Turkish Red Crescent has sent medical supplies to several countries including Spain and Italy, two countries worst affected by the pandemic in Europe, he said.

“The stronger Turkey is, the more it will lend a helping hand to its friends,” he said.

Erdoğan also said Turkey was working to expedite the manufacturing of respirators by the end of the year.