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Support groups, municipalities provide aid for foreigners living in Turkey amid COVID-19 outbreak

Support groups, municipalities provide aid for foreigners living in Turkey amid COVID-19 outbreak

Local municipalities and social support groups provided aid for foreigners residing in Turkey’s tourist resorts as part of measures to ease the impact of the pandemic.

In the Mediterranean province of Antalya, the Antalya Solidarity Platform and other NGOs continue to lend a helping hand to needy foreigners living in the city from 13 countries including Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Syria, Ukraine and Russia. The volunteers personally deliver aid packages to those in need of assistance.

A member of the Antalya Solidarity Platform, Halit Mert, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they are aiming to reach out to anyone in a difficult situation regardless of their nationality.

Explaining that the aid packages had been delivered to 350 foreign families so far, Mert said the group’s activities would continue in coordination with the governorate. “Just like our citizens, we also try to reach people sheltering in our country. We are glad to see they are happy,” he said.

A member of one of those families, Gülcan Usupbaeva from Kyrgyzstan, said that she had been living with her family of nine for six years in Antalya and was working as a babysitter before the coronavirus outbreak to support her family.

“I can’t do my job due to the outbreak; we can’t even go out. We are trying to get through this difficult time with the support I receive. I appreciate everyone who cares,” she said.

In the town of Didim in Muğla province, where many foreigners, especially Europeans, have settled, social support groups have made efforts to cater to their needs. Hugh Mcgowan, 72, who has been living in Didim for 13 years, said that Turkey had kept ahead of many European countries in terms of services.

“We can call the 155 telephone line and ask for help when needed. In our country, the police never do things like that. This is a great thing to do as part of the coronavirus process,” he told AA.

“When we want to go to the hospital or the bank, we just call 155 and they help deal with what we need. We also love our district governor, he is a great person and has personally taken care of us,” said his wife, Helene Mcgowan.

Katy Shallish, 64, who lives in Didim with her husband Ron, said that they could make no comparison between Turkey and England when they spoke to their relatives over the phone. “Here, the government really cares about the people. There is no one in the streets here, but that’s not the case in England because the government implemented measures too late,” she said.