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Turkish couple spent their wedding day giving food to 4,000 Syrian refugees

A Turkish bride and groom decided to share their joy on their wedding day by inviting 4,000 Syrian refugees to eat with them and celebrate in the southern Turkish city of Kilis.  Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat, who got married in the province which is near the Syrian border last week, invited some of those refugees who have fled the country since the civil war which began four years ago.  Turkey has welcomed nearly two million Syrian refugees and in Kilis, there are 4,000 refugees that Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anybody There?), a Turkish charity which provides help to millions across the world, is responsible for providing food to. 

In total, there are four million Syrian refugees who had fled the countryin what the UN described as the worst crisis of its kind in a generation. Almost eight million people are displaced within the country, the UN said last month. 

The idea for sharing their special day with those less fortunate was that of the groom's father, Ali Üzümcüoğlu. He told Serhat Kilis newspaper that he hoped others would do the same and share their wedding celebrations with their Syrian brothers and sisters.

"We thought that on such a happy day, we would share the wedding party with our Syrian brothers and sisters. We thought this was best done with Kimse Yok Mu who could provide a truck. God willing, this will lead to others doing the same and giving food to our Syrian brothers and sisters. For us, it was an interesting wedding dinner." 

The father also said he was glad that the couple began a new life "with such a selfless action". Wedding guests shared food using trucks and those providing meals included the bride and groom themselves.

Hatice Avci, a spokesman for Kimse Yok Mu, told that on Thursday, the couple pooled the money they had received from their families to host a party with the refugees who live in and around the city. 

Kimse Yok Mu is affiliated with the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet (Service) movement, which is inspired by the teachings of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Islamic preacher in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. 

The bride, Mrs Polat, told i100 what a wonderful experience it was and how happy she was to share the meal with those in need. 

"I was shocked when Fethullah first told me about the idea but afterwards I was won over by it. 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. 

According to local media, local singer Reşit Muhtar also helped out and provided food to the special guests.

The groom, Mr Üzümcüoğlu, said it was a great feeling to make others happy. "Seeing the happiness in the eyes of the Syrian refugee children is just priceless. We started our journey to happiness with making others happy and that’s a great feeling," he said. 

And his father just might have got his wish. His son said that his friends were so inspired, they hoped to do the same during their wedding celebrations.

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