Turkish wedding video: Husband and wife share wedding feast with 4,000 Syrian refugees

Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat have made headlines across the world

Wednesday 05 August 2015 13:30
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Bride Esra Polat said that she was shocked when her fiance first floated his father’s wedding day idea
Bride Esra Polat said that she was shocked when her fiance first floated his father’s wedding day idea

A video has emerged of the Turkish husband and wife who shared their wedding feast with 4,000 Syrian refugees serving food in an act of kindness that made headlines around the world.

Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat from the town of Kilis near the Syrian border made headlines all over the world after i100, The Independent's sister site, broke the story about their remarkable wedding day last week, during which refugee families living in the local community were invited to take part in the celebrations.

Now a video has been given to The Independent of the day showing the couple serving food to the refugees. You can watch it here:

It was the groom's father, Ali Üzümcüoğlu, who originally had the idea. “I thought that sharing a big delicious dinner with our family and friends was unnecessary, knowing that there are so many people in need living next door”, he told i100.

Afterwards the happy couple posed for wedding photographs with their new friends

Üzümcüoğlu volunteers with Turkish charity Kimse Yok Mu (KYM) which helps look after Kilis’ refugees and is allied with the Gulen religious movement.

Hatice Avci, a spokesperson for KYM, confirmed last Thursday the newlywed couple donated the savings their families had put together for the traditional two-day party in order to share their wedding celebrations with refugees living nearby instead, providing dinner for approximately 4,000 people.

The wedding guests banded together to serve the food

Bride Esra Polat said that she was shocked when her fiance first floated his father’s very different wedding day idea, but was quickly won round. “It was such a wonderful experience. I’m happy that we had the opportunity to share our wedding meal with the people who are in real need,” she said.

The wedding guests, including the bride and groom, banded together to operate the food trucks and share the banquet with refugee families. Afterwards the happy couple posed for wedding photographs with their new friends.

Turkey is currently home to almost two million Syrian refugees who have fled the bloodshed of civil war at home. Around 4,000 live in Kilis, although more arrive every week, and the Turkish government has pledged to build a new settlement in the area to cope with the growing numbers.

The influx of people across the Syria-Turkey border has had a dramatic effect in border towns. Life has changed drastically for local people, as well as for the incoming refugees, as crowded conditions lead to economic and social tensions and a reported increase in criminal activity such as theft, begging and prostitution.

More than four million Syrians have fled their home country and eight million have been internally displaced since the Syrian Civil War broke out in 2011. The UN has described the plight of the Syrian people as “the worst crisis of its kind for a generation.”

Yet Fethullah and Esra’s wedding has given people living in Turkey and in the wider world hope that there are still moments of happiness to be found for Syrians forced to flee their homes: groom Fethullah said the guests at his unconventional wedding were so inspired by the day’s events they are planning similar gestures for their own weddings.

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