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H.E. Hami Aksoy, Ambassador Of Türkiye To Serbia

Hard Times Always Reveal True Friends

Following the devastating earthquakes that struck Türkiye on 6th February 2023, Serbia has shown exemplary support and solidarity with our country

The government and people of Serbia, together with our citizens, business community and NGOs, acted voluntarily and in coordination with our Embassy to collect and deliver a significant amount of in-kind and financial aid to Türkiye in a short period of time.

President Aleksandar Vučić immediately shared his message of condolence on social media and visited our Embassy on 9th February to sign the Book of Condolences.

The Book of Condolences at our Embassy was also signed by Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić, National Assembly Speaker Vladimir Orlić, Interior Minister Bratislav Gašić, Information and Telecommunications Minister Mihailo Jovanović, Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Goran Vesić and State Ministers without Portfolio Edin Đerlek and Novica Tončev.

Thanks to the efforts of the Interior Ministry and NGOs in Serbia, a total of 51 personnel and one rescue dog travelled to earthquake zones to join search and rescue efforts. The teams worked in Hatay and Kahramanmaraş, rescuing three of our citizens from beneath the rubble.

More than 200 tons of in-kind aid materials collected by the Serbian Government, our citizens and NGOs from Serbia were sent to Türkiye – under the coordination of our Embassy, our Consulate General in Novi Pazar and the Consular Office in Niš – by Turkish Airlines cargo flights, as well as trucks provided by our businesspeople. Working in close coordination with AFAD, the aid materials were directed to Adana, Gaziantep and Ankara, to be delivered to citizens hardest hit by the earthquakes.

The first part of the in-kind aid provided by Serbia (worth almost two million euros) was sent to our country on a cargo plane allocated by Turkish Airlines. The Serbian Government also made a decision to send financial aid to Türkiye and provided a million euros. Following these contributions, Ivica Dačić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, attended the International Donor Conference held in Brussels on 20th March, where Serbia earmarked an additional 750 thousand euros of support to Türkiye. The total amount of support from the Republic of Serbia exceeded 3.5 million euros. Moreover, Serbia provided support for the smooth transition of in-kind aid sent from other countries with the issuing of a formal decision on 17th February. This decision provided priority to trucks delivering humanitarian aid to Türkiye through Serbia, as well as exemptions from payments on tolls and T1 equivalent documents.

Serbia also launched an SMS campaign for collecting financial aid. This campaign was made available on all telecom operators across Serbia. Additionally, an account in the local currency has been opened by the Türkiye-Serbia Business Association at the initiative of Halkbank in Belgrade. Post of Serbia also started an aid campaign to transfer Serbian dinars to this special account. The SMS campaign will be valid for six months.

In Sandžak, a humanitarian aid campaign was also launched by locals. Under the coordination of our Consulate General in Novi Pazar, a total of 16 truckloads of aid materials, including materials collected by our Consular Office in Niš, were sent to our country thanks to the efforts of the Municipality of Novi Pazar and NGOs in the region. Donations worth more than 550,000 euros have been collected from the region.

In the face of the magnitude of this natural disaster, humanitarian aid is still arriving. We have seen tremendous support not only from the Serbian Government, but also from the people of the Republic of Serbia. We are thus extremely grateful to both the Serbian government and our friends in Serbia for their unprecedented support. This solidarity will never be forgotten.