Amid opposition criticism of the Turkish government for its assistance to foreign countries when the Turkish people are suffering financial hardship, a minister defended the government, implying that votes by those countries at the UN may work to Turkey’s advantage in the future, the T24 news website reported.
Answering lawmakers’ questions on the 2021 budget, Turkish Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank argued with opposition deputies who criticized the government for spending too much on foreign countries while not doing anything for Turkish citizens in need.
“We only give $3 to $5 million, but those countries all have a vote at the United Nations. You have to think about the return on your investment in the international arena. All types of assistance [provided by the government] is being opposed here, without regard to its actual merit. I really have a hard time understanding this attitude,” Varank said.
The minister added that while the donations are small, they have a large impact on international relations and said the haggling in parliament over the amount of assistance is reported to the relevant countries by their ambassadors, damaging the intended purpose of the aid.
“We have trade relations with these countries and areas of interest in which we need to cooperate,” Varank said.
Turkey sent medical assistance to more than 150 countries and six international organizations to help them combat the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in August.
The Turkish opposition has long criticized the assistance, saying the current economic crisis faced by the country should mean that its people are the government’s priority.