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Turkey - Expression of condolences to earthquake victims

20 August 1999

Letter to H.E. Süleyman Demirel, President of the Republic, 20 August 1999.

Your Excellency,

As the dimensions of the terrible tragedy in your country resulting from the recent earthquake grow, the hearts of Christians around the world go out to the people of Turkey. As an expression of this concern, I offer you, and through you, to all those in your country who mourn losses of loved ones and remain stunned by the destruction of homes and communities, the deepest condolences and sympathy of the World Council of Churches.

I have sent similar messages to the churches in Turkey related to the World Council of Churches, asking them to share these with their friends and neighbors. From the first hours after news of this disaster came, churches and church-related agencies which cooperate with Action by Churches Together (ACT), a joint humanitarian response program of the WCC and the Lutheran World Federation, began to mobilize emergency assistance and to contribute to the enormous task of rebuilding. This aid, which will be channeled through our churches in Turkey and through other international response channels, is a tangible expression of the pain Christians feel, and the solidarity they are compelled by faith and common human feeling to offer to all the victims without distinction.

We mourn with you and the people of your land your losses, and hold you always in our prayers to the one loving and merciful God, that He may bring you consolation and invest you with the hope and courage to face up to the daunting task of healing and reconstruction.

                                                                                                                                    Very sincerely yours,

                                                                                                                                    Konrad Raiser
                                                                                                                                    General Secretary.