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Canada’s Aid to Türkiye – A Lip Service!


The full scale of the catastrophic earthquake that struck Türkiye and Syria on Monday, February 6th in the early morning hours is yet to be known. The entire loss may never be determined. Thousands of lives lost. Thousands of homes vanished forever. Thousands of families grieving the deaths of their loved ones. The shear enormity of their collective sufferings is unimaginable. The real tragedy however is the tone-deaf approach taken by the western powers to aid these nations in their hour of need. Canada’s aid to Türkiye is nothing but merely a “lip-service.”

The amount of aid being offered by the western nations compared to the devastation Türkiye and Syria are facing is simply peanuts. Just a drop in the bucket of what it would take to get back on its feet. 

The amount of aid pledged by the US is merely $100 million in comparison to just one Pakistani origin US citizen who has already given, $30 million. 

Canada’s contribution to this international humanitarian response is yet another shameful act of the Trudeau government, which sits at $10 million “Canadian” which amounts to approximately $7 million USD, and a small volunteer group based in Burnaby to help the rescue mission. 

Even smaller African nations, like Algeria’s total aid of $45 million USD to Türkiye and Syria, outshines Canada’s $7 million USD. 

Other smaller nations that have caused Canada’s contributions to the humanitarian aid in Türkiye and Syria a shameful act is Belgium, sent its B-FAST medical assistance and 5 million Euros. 

Brazil also outpaced Canada by sending its federal firefighters’ teams, along with doctors and National Secretariat for Civil Defence and Protection. 

The list of much smaller and poorer countries coming to Türkiye and Syria’s aid that shame Canada’s assistance to these two nations is far long, which includes, Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina and even its neighbour Armenia, where borders have remained closed since 1988, was made open for aid to flow through. 

Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, and Bangladesh have also managed to shame Canada’s aid to Türkiye and Syria. 

Let’s put it mildly, the number of resources, wealth and expertise Canada has at its avail, and what it could have offered to Türkiye and Syria in terms of financial aid and other assistance was not as much as it could have been. If we were to list all the countries that have outdone Canada, it includes just about every country from A to Z. That’s enough for Canada to reconsider its aid package to Türkiye and Syria. 

The western nations collectively did not do as much as they could have to assist Türkiye and Syria in their hour of need. It begs the question would these nations have acted in the same manner if the disaster had struck a western nation? Would their response be just as tone-deaf as it has been for Türkiye and Syria? Why are the western nations holding back their hands? Most of the western nations have provided a small token amount in financial aid, and much of the aid is in form of rescue teams. 

To make matters worse, Türkiye is at least getting an aid, albeit a ‘lip service.’ War ravaged Syria, unfortunately cannot even count on any form of aid due to the international sanctions against them. Whatever aid it may get is through Türkiye. Even though the epicenter of the quake was near the city of Gaziantep, 60 KM from the Syrian borders. 

Tayyab Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party) have articulated in 2013 as “Humanitarian Diplomacy.” Also known as the “enterprising and humanitarian foreign policy” has transformed the humanitarian aid to other nations. 

The United Nations resident coordinator in Türkiye, Alvaro Rodriguez, pointed to the country’s years-long hosting of about 3.7 million Syrian refugees – which has given the country the world’s largest refugee population amid Syria’s continuing war – as well as aid “Türkiye has provided other countries in their time of need”.

“So, people should remember that and be generous because [Türkiye] has been generous to others.” 

It is unfortunate that a nation that has recalibrated its own foreign policy to be at the forefront of humanitarian aid for any country no matter of its race or religious affiliation, has not received the same generosity. It is an absolute pity that western nations are now holding back and not returning a good deed with a good deed. 

Whether the international aid to Türkiye arrives as generous as Türkiye has been to other nations. What we know is that the Turkish people are a resilient nation and even without any meaningful aid from the international community, especially the western nations, Türkiye has survived and will continue to survive and is capable of recover its financial losses and come out stronger. 

Certainly, we cannot count upon our western leaders, may it be Trudeau or Biden. We however, as individuals have an obligation to help our Turkish and Syrian brothers to recover from this tragedy and get back up on their feet again. 

The humanitarian aid will not be limited to what we have done so far. Türkiye and Syria will be needing our assistance for years to come. They have not yet even completed their rescue operations. It is the rebuilding phase that would require our assistance as many of us have seen videos where entire blocks of apartment towers have collapsed to the ground. It would take years for Türkiye to rebuild. We need to make sure we stand with our Turkish community in Canada and continue providing our moral and financial assistance. 

We must also bear in mind to question our political leaders for their lack of financial commitment in helping Türkiye and Syria. It is something we should do both individually and collectively and pressure our political leaders to DO MORE!

The important thing is to always remember them in our prayers.  What happened in Türkiye and Syria is indeed tragic. We must accept the will of Allah, repose our faith in Allah and in the verses of the Quran, “Every calamity that afflicts you on earth and in yourselves is recorded in the Book before We even bring it about. This is certainly easy for Allah” (Surah 57:22).