ISTANBUL – Turkey is set to fulfill the dream of a poor Ghanaian villager whose story went viral on the Turkish social media when he asked a TV crew if “a drone can take him to Mecca”. The villager will travel to the Muslim holy land due to the efforts of the Turkish Foreign Ministry and charities.
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The heart-melting story moved millions of social media users around the world who expressed their wish and willingness to help the poor man materialize his dream.
Al-Hassan Abdullah had naively asked a Turkish film crew flying a drone with a camera in his village in Ghana if they had “a bigger one of this that would take him to [Saudi Arabia]”.
Prompted by the viral story on social media, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu intervened and helped arrange a hajj journey for impoverished Abdullah.
He arrived in Istanbul from Accra on Friday and was welcomed by a Turkish charity whose work focuses on Ghana.
Abdullah told Anadolu Agency (AA) he was pleased to be in Istanbul and it was God who blessed him with this favor from Turkey. “I am grateful to God and I pray to everyone who helped this dream come true. Turkish state’s assistance is valuable for me and I believe this will help improve friendship, brotherhood between Muslims,” he said.
Cihad Gökdemir, deputy chairman of the charity who welcomed Abdullah at the airport, said Abdullah’s story made the headlines after a TRT World employee tweeted the image. “Then, people started to seek a way to reach out to him, from businesspeople to companies. Finally, a Turkish police officer from Turkish embassy in Ghana contacted him. He is grateful to Turkish people,” Gökdemir said.