Student organization supporting Turkey relief efforts

By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Caleb Aguayo

Earthquakes disrupted life in Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6 and again Feb. 20, the nations were hit again with a 6.3 magnitude aftershock.

Following the widespread destruction and loss of life, a student organization from the University of Alabama is stepping up and doing what it can to help with relief efforts.

The group’s adviser, Ibrahim Cemen, said the UA Turkish Student Association plans to help by hosting weekly fundraising events with food, as well as meeting to raise awareness among the student population.

In combination with several departments from the university, the Turkish Student Association plans to raise awareness for victims, host discussions for affected community members and gather funds for organizations working in Turkey.

The next of these events is happening Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. at Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library on the UA campus.

The group has compiled a list of six organizations taking donations for relief including Doctors Without Borders, the American Red Cross, Red Crescent and UNICEF.

A student organizer for the Turkish Student Association, Ceren Satioglu, said she lived through similar earthquakes in Turkey in the 1990s. Satioglu said events like these change everything for residents.

“Normally, when you try to explain an address or direction you say, for instance, ‘Turn right from this building at the corner.’ You cannot because there is no building,” said Satioglu.

Cemen said he was in Turkey in 1999 himself and saw people who lost their homes, their loved ones, everything.

“I saw one woman, right in the middle of the street, in front of her ruined apartment,” Cemen said. “And I still remember her face. ‘I lost everything. This was our home. I had a husband and two sons. They’re all gone. What am I going to do?’ ”

You can learn more about the event Feb. 28 or donate toward relief efforts right here.

Categories: Local News