By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – The 8th Global Donors Forum is continuing on its second day in London.
Turkey’s former Ambassador to Somalia Cemalettin Kani Torun who is participating in the forum described the meeting as an important opportunity for various organizations to network and organize humanitarian aid.
Torun, one of the conveners of the forum, said they will present Turkey’s First Lady Emine Erdogan the Humanitarian Service Recognition Award for her work, especially her efforts for Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.
Turkey plays a massive role in global humanitarian aid, said Jehangir Malik, a representative of Muslim Aid.
Malik said Turkey's first lady gave out "strong messages" by traveling to places where aid was needed the most.
Saima Ashraf, the Global Donor Forum’s convener and deputy leader of the Council of London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, said Emine Erdogan is a role model for women.
Speaking about the award, Ashraf said: “Erdogan deserves it as a first lady and because of what Turkey has been doing on a humanitarian basis.”
Emine Erdogan has been “outstanding” and “she really deserves” the award, she said.
– Praise for Turkey
Also praising Turkey as a global donor, Imtiaz A. Khan, a director of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, said almost 50 foundations took part in the forum this year.
He said the foundation's aid work is not only limited to the Muslim world but it covers the whole world.
Turkey’s contribution has been invaluable for us, Khan said, adding that Emine Erdogan and Turkish Red Crescent deserved the award.
Another director of the Global Donors Forum, Wasif Khan, also praised Turkey’s efforts in humanitarian aid across the globe.
“As you can see I am not from Turkey but because of the philanthropy work the government of Turkey is giving us, I consider myself as a proud Turkish,” he said.
He told Anadolu Agency that without Turkey’s initial and continuing support the forum would not be here today.
“Anywhere in the world you look, wherever Muslim donors and philanthropists are giving anything, Turkey has set the forefront of it… and their contribution is phenomenal,” Khan said.
Khan described Emine Erdogan as a figure who brought attention at the international level to the sufferings of the Rohingya Muslims.
“Without her, no one would be paying attention to people of Rohingya, the genocide of Rohingya,” he said.
“If anybody knows what is going on over there, it is because of First Lady Emine Erdogan,” he added.
The event, organized by the Chicago-based World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, opened on Monday at the British Museum.
The three-day event is focusing on issues such as human dignity, resistance to radicalization, and social solidarity.
Emine Erdogan first went to Myanmar in 2012 and drew international attention to the persecution of Rohingya.
On Sep. 7, last year, the first lady and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh where Rohingya Muslims took shelter after fleeing Myanmar’s Rakhine State. They handed out humanitarian aid to Rohingya Muslim refugees at a camp in Cox’s Bazar district near the Myanmar border.
The Global Donors Forum, the biennial convening of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, mobilizes financial and intellectual resources to create socio-economic value beyond racial, religious and political divides, according to the official website of the forum.
The first forum meeting was held in Istanbul in 2008.