Next one or two days to be very crucial to save more lives, he says

Touched by the pouring of love and assistance from Bangladeshis, Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan on Thursday said they seek no cash but "in-kind assistance" like medical and non-medical items along with winter clothes from Bangladesh.

"We have decided not to receive cash assistance but we request everyone to deliver in-kind assistance," he told reporters as his country needs support to cope with the magnitude of the urgent needs of people who are suffering on the ground due to harsh winter conditions in the southeastern region of Turkey struck by earthquakes.

Thousands who lost their homes in the catastrophic earthquake huddled around campfires and clamored for food and water in the bitter cold, three days after the temblor and series of aftershocks hit Turkey and Syria, killing more than 17,000.

He said many Bangladeshis would like to offer financial and in-kind assistance and noted that they are "very much touched and remain very humble" by their generosity.

An in-kind contribution is a contribution of a good or a service other than money.

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) launched a campaign to receive assistance from Bangladesh.

Ambassador Turan said Bangladeshi citizens are pouring love and support for their Turkish brothers and sisters through their messages. "We will never forget this type of solidarity."

Turkish Airlines will carry the goods free of cost while the government of Bangladesh will facilitate customs clearances for quick delivery of those assistances.

The next one or two days will be very crucial to save more lives as his country is struggling to overcome the enormous challenges being hit by twin earthquakes and many aftershocks.

In a media briefing at the embassy, the ambassador expressed gratitude to the government and the people of Bangladesh for coming forward instantly after the earthquake.

Turan said no Bangladesh citizen has so far been affected.

He, however, said a former Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh (immediate past Ambassador) who was posted in one of the affected provinces remains missing soon after the earthquake hit there.

"Unfortunately, we don't have any information about him," said Turan, seeking prayers for his quick rescue.

The Bangladesh government sent a search and rescue team by a military aircraft last evening and declared a day of national mourning with flags lowered at half-mast on all government premises for Thursday.

"This is a gesture we will not forget. There is an outpouring of support and solidarity by the people of Bangladesh on social media too," said the Ambassador.

"Very few countries declared a day for mourning," he said, adding that many countries are now on the ground supporting his country with large teams.

Regarding the press visa, the envoy said visa will not be required for professional work requests received due to the earthquake in Turkey.

Members of the press should apply to the e-mail address with a copy of the assignment letter, photograph and passport, he said.

The ambassador, however, said it is very difficult to reach the affected areas and there is no hotel to stay there but the journalists can report from big cities including Ankara.

The president of Turkey on Wednesday acknowledged "shortcomings" in his country's response to the world's deadliest earthquake in more than a decade as hope dwindled that more survivors would emerge from the rubble of thousands of toppled buildings.

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