An American humanitarian organisation awarded Turkey on Saturday night for its "tireless advocacy" for the Syrian people, of whom 2.7 million have been hosted by Turkey over the last five years.
Commemorating the sixth anniversary of the Syrian war, the non-governmental American Relief Coalition for Syria awarded the Turkish Ambassador of Washington DC, Serdar Kilic, at the organisation's third annual dinner, followed by a fundraiser for the Syrian people.
With the message that Turkey's efforts "have not gone unnoticed in the Syrian community," Kilic was invited to the stage with loud applause.
Thanking the organisation for the award, Kilic began by speaking about Saturday's deadly terrorist attack in Istanbul, mentioning that the timing of the award was important for showing the Syrian people’s solidarity with Turkey.
Accepting the award on behalf of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish government and its people, Kilic said that above all he received the award on behalf of the 2.7 million refugees in Turkey.
"I could have delivered a long speech like my American colleague [U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power] at New York has done, but I sincerely believe it is time for concrete action, not beautiful words," he said, drawing attention to Power’s 10-minute-plus video message which was shown during the dinner.
Saturday's event was not only about awards but also aimed at raising funds for Syrian refugees worldwide.
"When you write your checks.. please do not forget that this is not just a fundraising event, this is a hope-raising event for the Syrian refugees that have found safe refuge in Turkey, Jordan, and other countries."
The ambassador said it was Turkey's tradition to give hope and safe haven to people from other countries, like the Sephardic Jews who fled Spain to the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, and that this tradition abided by the Prophet Mohammed's teachings to care for one’s neighbor.
"Let's not lose this generation, they are important for the future of Syria and they are important for the future of our neighborhood."
Kilic left the stage with applause from the crowd and signed the first check for the fundraiser on behalf of the Turkish government.
The organisation has also awarded Greece, Canada, Germany, and the US.
Turkey is currently hosting over 2.7 million Syrian refugees - the most in the world - and has provided for them with over $10 billion in aid so far.