The mother and the daughter finally arrived in Samsun after a long and challenging journey to meet Öztürk in person.
Öztürk had been searching on the internet and social media platforms on how to help Ukrainian women and children after the war broke out there.
She met online and exchanged messages with Natalia Laptieva and her daughter, Kyra Kyrychenko.
“When I reached out to her, Kyria said she couldn’t sleep at all. I was trying to find ways to help them. I, somehow, managed to get in touch with the Turkish embassy and Turkish consulate and asked for help,” Öztürk recalled.
The Turkish officials stepped in and provided food and money to the Ukrainian mother and the daughter to cover their travel expenses, Öztürk said.
“I tried so hard for Kyra, and it’s worth it. It was a long and difficult journey for them from Ukraine to Turkey.” Öztürk said at the bus station where she welcomed her Ukrainian guests. “They will be part of our family. Kyra will be able to sleep now.”
“I am very happy to be here now. The situation is not good in my country, but things will change for the better. All men there are fighting for the freedom of Ukraine. We will not let anyone lay a hand on our women, our children and our homes,” Laptieva said.
Fatma Öztürk recalled that when they exchanged messages, Kyra mentioned that the young girl could not get a night of sleep because of the sirens wailing.
“’I wish I could come to Turkey,’ Kyra wrote in one of those messages. Then I started to communicate with her mother. That’s how things began to unfold,” Öztürk recalled.
She added that the way the Ukrainian mother and the daughter left Ukraine for Turkey was a bit of an exception.
“Only Turkish citizens could travel on the buses specially sent to evacuate Turkish people. But I insisted that Natalia and Kyra take one of those buses, and a Turkish official there spoke with the Turkish ambassador and got the permission for them. They also provided money for them to cover travel expenses,” she explained.
“I am happy that they arrived in Samsun safe and sound. We don’t speak their language, but we communicate somehow. Feelings have their own language. I hope they enjoy their time here,” Öztürk said.
Hurriyet Daily News