By Burcu Calik
ANKARA (AA) - Ukrainian orphans who were brought to Türkiye due to the Russia-Ukraine war are in safe hands in the country, said Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan.
"I saw that they were very happy here. They are in safe hands and happy with the ministry officials and their caregivers from Ukraine accompanying them," Erdogan told Anadolu Agency after meeting with a group of children in the capital Ankara.
Since the war erupted in February, thanks to the efforts of Erdogan and Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska, hundreds of children and their caregivers have been brought to Türkiye. Across the country, the Turkish Family and Social Services Ministry provides them shelter and psychiatric and social support to help them overcome the trauma of displacement.
"Of course, the heart wishes that this war had not happened, that no one was left without a mother, father, or displaced. My hope is that the war will end as soon as possible, that the wounds there will be healed, and that everyone can return to their homes safely," said the first lady.
Erdogan also sent her regards to Zelenska, saying: "Let her not worry, we’re holding onto what she entrusted to us. Everything is fine and under control."
She also said it is important for countries to make efforts to end the war and ensure peace.
The evacuation of children in distress in Ukraine could continue, Erdogan added, stressing that Türkiye always stands ready to help.
During the meeting, Erdogan attended to the orphaned children one by one, and gave them toys.
Türkiye has been internationally praised for its unique ability to act as a go-between between Ukraine and Russia, with both countries’ trust in Türkiye enabling progress on such issues as grain shipments.
The Russia-Ukraine war, which began on Feb. 24, has met international outrage, with the EU, US and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.
Some 6,700 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and over 10,000 injured, according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) estimates, while noting that the true figure is likely far higher.
*Writing by Diyar Guldogan