ASIA/TURKEY - COVID-19: Christian foundations contribute to funds for the solidarity campaign wanted by Erdogan

Wednesday, 8 April 2020


Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) - The Turkish Foundations that are part of the Christian communities also adhere with substantial donations to the "National Solidarity Campaign" launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to accumulate resources necessary to counter the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Turkey. In recent days, the Union of Armenian Foundations has ordered the payment of 500 thousand Turkish lira (about 68 thousand euro) in favor of the fundraiser wanted by Erdogan. 100 thousand Turkish lira (equal to approximately 14 thousand euro) came from the Foundation linked to the Syrian Orthodox Church, while 300 thousand Turkish lira (equal to approximately 41 thousand euro) went to the solidarity fund by the Foundation linked to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The leaders of the Armenian Foundations accompanied the donation with a declaration expressing gratitude to the Turkish political leadership for the attention shown to Armenian citizens, while in the message issued by the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the occasion of the announcement of the donation, gratitude was espresse towards health workers who fight on the front lines to stem the spread of the pandemic.
In recent days, as reported by Fides (see Fides, 3/4/20), the Jew Moris Levi, representative of the Foundations of the minority religious communities within the National Assembly of the Turkish Foundations, told the Turkish media that the whole sector of the Foundations represented by him, without exception, had already taken steps to respond quickly to the request for concrete solidarity expressed by the Turkish President, while Isaak Haleva, Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community in Turkey, had already announced that he would donate the equivalent of five months of his personal salary to the donation campaign.
On March 30, Erdogan launched the "National Solidarity Campaign" to support the new coronavirus, conducted under slogans aimed at affirming Turkey's "self-sufficiency" in such battle. Erdogan inaugurated the collection of donations by announcing that he had donated the equivalent of seven months of his personal salary to the campaign, underlining that the initiative aims to support above all those who struggle more economically in daily life, starting from workers who are not receiving their salaries.
In Turkey, the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has exceeded the official threshold of 30 thousand infections. The deaths, according to official figures are currently less than 800, but data on the infection indicate Turkey as one of the countries whose number of confirmed cases appears to be growing more rapidly. President Erdogan has so far resisted requests to order the total block of work activities from union representatives, health institutions and members of the opposition.
In Turkey, the approximately 170 foundations linked to ethnic and religious minorities present in Turkey - including those animated by Jews and by Christian Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Syrians, Chaldeans, Bulgarians and Georgians - operate according to the provisions and regulations defined by the Directorate General of the Foundations. In recent years, these bodies are in a situation of institutional uncertainty: in 2013 a new regulation had been drawn up to redefine the relations of the Foundations with the governmental apparatuses and their internal functioning, but this de facto regulation has never entered into force, preventing the renewal of the executive positions of the individual institutions. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 8/4/2020)