By Jeyhun Aliyev
ANKARA (AA) - A Turkish television host raised 51 million Turkish liras ($8.6 million) for Friday's earthquake victims in a live campaign on his show which went on for five hours.
Death toll from the 6.8-magnitude earthquake which hit the eastern Turkish city of Elazig reached 39 on Monday with more than a thousand injured.
Acun Ilicali, who is also a TV producer and owner of TV8 channel, asked citizens in his show on Sunday to donate through direct money transfers or via text-to-donate messages. Each message made a contribution of 10 liras ($1.7).
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu joined the TV show by phone from Algeria, where he was on an official visit. He made a symbolic donation in the form of his monthly salary worth 26,000 Turkish liras (around $4,400). He also donated the monthly allowance of his wife.
"It is an honor for us to be member of a nation that has always managed to be in unity and solidarity when needed. It is an honor for us to represent our nation," Cavusoglu said, adding that Turkey ranks first in humanitarian aid in the world.
"We are not the richest country in the world, but we are the most generous nation," he added.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, who also joined the broadcast by phone, said that by supporting each other, people have "left a great legacy" to the future and donated 20,000 Turkish liras (around $3,400) to the campaign.
"The history that nations lived is important, but what they leave to the future is essentially important," he added.
Turkish Besiktas forward Burak Yilmaz on behalf of the football team donated 300,000 Turkish liras ($50,460) to the campaign.
Turkish businessman Huseyin Ozdilek in a phone call to the show also donated 1 million Turkish liras ($168,000).
Burak Soylu, a businessman from Elazig province, who said he owned a technology company and a TV channel, pledged a donation of 2 million Turkish liras ($336,000). He added that he wanted to build a school in the quake-hit region named after his parents.
Ahmed Al-Sir, a Turkish citizen of Palestinian origin, also extended his solidarity and support to the victims of earthquake, donating 500,000 Turkish liras ($84,000) to the campaign.
At the end of the show, the television host said 22 million Turkish liras ($3.7 million) were raised via text-to-donate messages and 29 million Turkish liras ($4.9 million) as individual donations.
Interior Minister Soylu in a news conference on Monday thanked the television channel for the "very important" campaign.