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Taiwan leaders donate a month’s salary to efforts to help Tükiye

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The office of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President William Lai announced that they would each donate a month’s salary to the Turkish earthquake relief efforts.

The presidential office said in a statement that Tsai and Lai, who are expected to run for president in elections scheduled for next year, “hope to do their part to help Turkey rebuild its homeland as soon as possible.”

Turkey, like most countries, does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China claims, but the two countries maintain de facto embassies in each other’s capitals, and there are direct flights between Istanbul and Taipei.

Tsai visited the actual Turkish embassy in Taipei on Thursday to sign a book of condolence, writing: “My heart goes out to our Turkish friends. Taiwan stands by Turkey!” , according to her office.

Last year, Tsai and Lai also donated one month’s salary to help humanitarian relief efforts for war-torn Ukraine. Tsai earns about NT$400,000 (US$13,300) per month.

The death toll from the earthquake and aftershocks earlier this week surpassed 16,000 on Thursday, with some areas facing slow arrival of rescue teams due to difficult conditions.

Taiwan, which frequently suffers from earthquakes, has announced $2 million in disaster relief and sent two rescue teams to Turkey to help in the search for survivors.

Tsai spoke via video call with some members of Team Taiwan on the ground on Wednesday.

“I would like to thank all the members for not being afraid of difficulties and doing their best so that Taiwan and Turkey can help each other,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

Turkey joined the international effort and sent rescuers to Taiwan in 1999 after a massive earthquake killed more than 2,000 people.

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