Turkish rock singer and public figure Haluk Levent’s non-profit organization has won the support and trust of millions in Turkey and around the world with its quick and well-coordinated relief efforts in the wake of two consecutive earthquakes that shook the country earlier this week.
A 7.8-magnitude quake, which struck near the city of Gaziantep as people slept early Monday, was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue work the same day.
According to the latest official figures, the earthquakes have killed 18,991 people and injured over 75,000 across 10 southeastern provinces hit hardest by the disaster.
The Foundation of Anatolian People and Peace Platform (AHBAP), which was founded in 2017, has Levent on its board of directors and a network of volunteers in 68 provinces across Turkey.
AHBAP says on its website that its aim is to provide all kinds of aid to people in need, strengthen the awareness of cooperation in society and serve the building of good people and a good society, with the slogan “We are after love and truth.”
Within a few hours of the massive earthquakes, AHBAP volunteers in the affected areas initially started taking part in search and rescue efforts, with Levent also arriving in the earthquake region to join them later the same day.
Ahbaplar olarak hepimiz deprem bölgesine koordine olmak için çalışıyoruz.
Deprem bölgesindeki Ahbaplar şu an sahaya girdiler.
Uçaklar uçmuyor bu sebeple araba ile yolculuktayım.
Bir kaç saat içinde bölgede olacağız. pic.twitter.com/ZozhBkTPj4
— Haluk Levent (@haluklevent) February 6, 2023
The foundation then worked in coordination with the Turkey Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), governors’ offices and municipalities, and a group of volunteers arrived in Hatay, one of the provinces hardest hit by the quakes, for search and rescue work the next day.
Ahbap Arama Kurtarma Ekibimiz yoğun koordinasyon çalışmalarının ardından deprem afeti bölgelerinden biri olan Hatay'a ulaştı. pic.twitter.com/OLODi50oNK
— Ahbap (@ahbap) February 7, 2023
While continuing search and rescue efforts, the foundation also worked with such Turkish TV celebrities as Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ, Oktay Kaynarca, Kenan İmirzalıoğlu, Özge Özpirinççi and İrem Helvacıoğlu as well as a large group of volunteers organized by internet celebrity Oğuzhan Uğur and the crew of his YouTube channel “Babala TV” to collect all kinds of aid and raise funds.
According to local media reports, AHBAP has received nearly TL 70 million ($3.7 million) from its benefactors, including TikTok, Tyrrell Investments Limited, Uber, LG, Bitfinex and McDonald’s in addition to ordinary Turkish citizens, businessmen and celebrities in the first four days after the disaster.
The foundation has provided water, tents, generators, mobile trucks for personal hygiene needs and the like to victims in earthquake-affected regions, also organizing and announcing institutions and businesses that opened their doors to people who had to leave their homes after the earthquake.
AHBAP also urged people to donate blood for the treatment of tens of thousands injured in the quakes.