Turkish Red Crescent provides aid for needy ArmeniansSource : http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=kizilay-provides-aid-for-the-armenian-poors-2010-12-30
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Thursday, December 30, 2010
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Needy people in the Kumkapı area of Istanbul, including poor unregistered Armenian immigrants, will receive donations of food and shoes to start the new year thanks to Türk Kızılay (Turkish Red Crescent).
The organization signed an agreement Wednesday with the Armenian patriarchate, which has been delivering aid to people in need for a decade, about making the deliveries.
“Some 1,000 food packages and 300 pairs of shoes, given to the patriarchate, have started to be distributed to the people in need,” Avedis Hilkat, a member of the Turkish Red Crescent’s board of directors for its Princes’ Islands branch, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Thursday. Hilkat is also deputy head of the Princes’ Islands organization for the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP.
“The patriarchate has long been distributing aid to the poor in the [Kumkapı] area, regardless of their ethnic or religious background, which is why I so much wanted to bring this joint project to life,” Hilkat said.
Distribution of the first aid boxes started Thursday, Hilkat said, adding that all the details on the project implementation, prepared in cooperation with the patriarchate, had already been handed to Turkish Red Crescent Chairman Tekin Küçükali.
“We first started distributing clean secondhand clothes to people in need,” Deputy Patriarch and Archbishop Aram Ateşyan said in the delivery ceremony, adding that they soon realized clothes were not enough and that poor people living in Kumkapı needed food donations as well, the Doğan news agency reported Thursday.
“We, however, faced problems with funding,” Ateşyan said, adding that the patriarchate had contacted the Turkish Red Crescent to ask for a charitable donation. “Kızılay donated 1,000 food packages within a very short period of time,” he said.
The Turkish Red Crescent will continue to distribute aid to people in need, not only by continuing its partnership with the Armenian patriarchate, but by extending the effort to work with the Greek patriarchate as well.
Unregistered Armenian immigrants
The patriarchate is very pleased to help people in need, regardless of their ethnic origin or religion, Hilkat told the Daily News. “Our possibilities [to provide aid] are much higher now,” he said.
Thousands of immigrants of Armenian origin live in Istanbul’s Kumkapı area. The total number of Armenians living in Turkey is 15,000, according to data provided by the Foreign Ministry. Other authorities in Turkey place this figure at more than 20,000.
Most Armenian immigrants have illegally entered Turkey due to their poor financial conditions; Hilkat said the majority live in very poor conditions in Turkey as well. He said some 3,000 immigrants have been receiving assistance funded by the patriarchate’s own sources.
“Now we will be able to provide more assistance, thanks to the Kızılay-patriarchate cooperation,” he said.