Turkish rock star Haluk Levent, who won widespread appreciation for his charity’s relief efforts following two powerful earthquakes in February, was ranked first on a list of most trusted celebrities in the country, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by Ipsos.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents named Levent as their most trusted celebrity, followed by Müge Anlı, a TV presenter, and Kenan İmirzalıoğlu, an actor and TV presenter.
Levent’s Foundation of Anatolian People and Peace Platform (AHBAP), which has a network of volunteers in 68 provinces across Turkey, won the support and trust of millions in Turkey and around the world for its relief efforts after February’s major earthquakes, which led to massive devastation in the country’s south and southeast and claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people.
At a time when the Turkish government was criticized for its ineffective and slow response to the tragedy, Levent collected more than $50 million and mobilized volunteers to help the victims of the earthquakes.
Levent and his charity’s popularity have grown exponentially since the disaster, with many celebrities and international companies choosing to send their donations through AHBAP, saying they trust the organization more than the Turkish government, which drew the ire of government officials and supporters.
In the face of growing pressure from the government, Levent has tried to keep his organization in contact with state agencies and said his organization will be transparent about the use of the donations.
The charity, which is accused by government officials and supporters of equating itself with the state, was also targeted by the leader of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, an election ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu