Turkey sent $3.4b in aid to 121 countries in 2012

Deputy PM Bozdag: “Turkey is no longer the hand that receives, but the hand that gives.”

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Turkey sent $3.4 billion in aid to 121 countries in 2012 for development projects, according to an official report.
“Turkey is no longer the hand that receives, but the hand that gives, due to political and economic success under the AKP party’s [Justice and Development Party] rule,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said, according to a report in the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News on Monday.
“After the 98 percent increase, aid figures exceeded 2 billion dollars for the first time,” stated the report. The Middle East accounted for around 47% of the aid, Africa 31%, Asia 18% and Eastern Europe and the Balkans 3%.
Turkey’s neo-Ottoman foreign policy, which seeks to reposition the country as the leading power in the region, may be behind its increased efforts at gaining influence abroad. The country has developed a much more aggressive foreign policy with an Islamist flavor, rooted in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP party.
One of the factors behind the increase in aid was the approximately $1 b. spent on Syrian refugees fleeing the war in Syria.
The countries that received the most aid were Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, the Palestinian territories, Kazakhstan and Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the Turkish daily.
Meanwhile, Turkish police fired water cannon and tear gas on Monday to break up a protest by around 2,000 people outside an Ankara court over the handling of the trial of a policeman accused of killing a demonstrator earlier this year.
A group of protesters wielding sticks descended on the court entrance after a ruling that the accused officer could take part in court hearings via video link, prompting police to intervene, a Reuters witness said.
Several protesters were wounded and 18 detained, according to local media reports. Ankara police declined to confirm the arrests and the crowd was later dispersed.
Officer Ahmet Sahbaz is accused of killing Ethem Sarisuluk, shot dead in June during a wave of nationwide anti-government demonstrations set off by a tough police response to a protest over the redevelopment of a park in Istanbul.
Six people, including a police officer, died during the weeks of unrest, which presented one of the biggest challenges to Erdogan’s decade-old rule.
Separately, a 35-year-old man was killed in the southeastern Turkish town of Ceylanpinar early on Monday when a stray mortar shell fired across the border from Syria struck a house near the frontier, security sources said.
The shell was fired during clashes between Kurdish and Islamist fighters in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, the sources said. Five people have now been killed in Turkey in similar incidents since clashes began in the area in July.