Turkish citizen Safiya Kocaaga was honored Wednesday by the French authorities with the National Order of Merit for her efforts in a hospital during the early stages of the spread of the new coronavirus in France.
Working as a cleaning lady at a French hospital, Kocaaga, 51, volunteered to sew protective clothing for doctors and patients at her hospital at a time when the hospital suffered from a lack of equipment protection.
Speaking to Anadolu agency, Kocaaga said she emigrated from Turkey to France in the 1980s and settled in the town of Guéret.
She said that with the start of the spread of the coronavirus in France, in March 2020, she noticed a severe shortage of protective clothing for doctors and patients, which prompted her to sew them herself for help fill this gap.
Kocaaga went on to say that she had set up her sewing machine in the hospital to continue working there seven days a week, so that with the help of a colleague, she was able to sew 800 pieces of clothing. protection in one month.
Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kran also praised Kocaaga on Twitter.
First in Creuse to receive the National Order of Merit
Explaining how she found out she had been awarded, Kocaaga said she was surprised one day when the hospital director called her to tell her she would be awarded the Order of Merit, local press reported. having largely echoed his sacrifices.
She stressed that she was the first to receive the National Order of Merit in the French department of Creuse.
Kocaaga said she had received congratulatory calls from the Turkish consulate in Lyon, her family in Turkey and French parliamentarians.
When asked if she had contacted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kocaaga expressed her admiration for him.
Her husband, Bayram Kocaaga, also said: “People in our area like us very much. We try to represent Turkey as best we can.”
* Writing by Burak Dag in Ankara
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