872) Turkey brushes aside differences with Canada in evacuation effort

Turkey is winning praise and thanks from Canadians for its humanitarian efforts to save its people escaping from war-torn Lebanon, notwithstanding tense relations between the two countries since April.

Leaving aside tensions stemming from the Canadian government's decision to recognize the Armenian genocide claims and Ottawa's moral support for Israel in the current Lebanese fighting, a view strongly opposed by Ankara, Turkish authorities and even citizens rushed to help the evacuation of Canadians from Lebanon and to provide them with all kinds of assistance before they left for their homeland.

While Canadian Ambassador to Turkey Yves Brodeur thanked Turkey yesterday for its hospitality, the country's newspapers called on Canadians to take note and bear in mind that Turkey avoided temptation by brushing aside differences when it comes to humanitarian efforts. "The port of Mersin and the nearby airport in Adana were instead opened wide for Canadians coming off chartered ships," wrote the Montreal Gazette.

"Although it would have been an easy matter for the Turkish authorities to find themselves too busy to return calls last week when Canada requested the use of a Turkish port and airport to funnel Canadians out of Lebanon as the principal staging post at Larnaca, Greek Cyprus was overflowing with people from many nations, the cooperation of Turkey's government simplified the evacuation process for many Canadians," the newspaper wrote. According to unofficial data, authorities said yesterday that so far some 9,500 foreigners, most of whom were Canadians and Australians, have been evacuated through the port of Mersin.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, who arrived in Adana yesterday to provide moral support to his country's citizens escaping the Israeli attacks in Lebanon, thanked Turkey in Turkish for the country's efforts in the humanitarian evacuation effort.

Turkish authorities also announced yesterday that the first assistance sent by the Lighthouse Association has reached Lebanon. According to the statement, 60 tons of aid reached and was distributed in Beirut after a six-day journey.

The New Anatolian / Ankara
28 July 2006


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