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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lisa McLoughlin

Love Island’s Ekin-Su reveals she considered adopting girl, 4, she met in Turkey after devastating earthquake

Ekin-Su Culculoglu has said she’s been left “traumatised” after her visit to Turkey following the devastating earthquake and has considered adopting a little girl she met.

The Love Island winner travelled to her family’s home in Turkey last month after the natural disaster claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people in February.

During her trip, the 28-year-old met several children who were orphaned by the catastrophe, who she claimed clung to her and began to call her “mum”.

The Dancing On Ice star recalled how one girl, in particular, begged her to take her home, an exchange which left Culculoglu “traumatised”.

Discussing her experience on Good Morning Britain, the reality TV star said she came back to the UK with a heavy heart and has been thinking about adopting the four-year-old ever since.

Speaking to hosts Susanna Reid and Ed Balls, she shared: “I would love to take her. It was traumatising – the whole experience.

“But once you bring one home you want to help them all. I really just want to raise awareness. We don’t know how lucky we are to be in the UK.”

The actress, who was born in Islington to Turkish parents Sezer and Zekai, also opened up about the traumatic events the young girl experienced during the earthquake.

She said: “She doesn't remember much of the actual event. It was 4am and all of a sudden it was black, everything was shaking, the walls were coming down and she was screaming, ‘mum, mum, mum’ and she doesn’t remember anything else.

“I think she has a little brother as well and that’s all it is, she just wants mum. Anyone who gives her love, she attaches herself and cannot let go. I think she was about four, very young.”

Aside from her experience with the British Red Cross, Culculoglu revealed her family in Turkey live in fear of another earthquake, explaining that some relatives have been sleeping outside since the disaster.

She said: “They always live their life with fear about what's going to happen next, are we going to be here, are we going to be dead. That’s what their worry is every day.

“My dad's side of the family, they've been sleeping outside every day. They're too scared to go back inside.”

Culculoglu, who holds Turkish citizenship, travelled to the country three months after the disaster to join the British Red Cross in a bid to raise awareness about earthquake relief efforts.

She joined volunteers in the southern province of Hatay to help with the ongoing relief mission and pitched in to make thousands of meals.

The natural disaster, described as Europe’s “worst natural disaster for a century” by the World Health Organisation, began in the early hours of February 6 with a series of tremors, including the first two which measured a massive 7.7 and 7.6 on the Richter scale.

They were followed by more than 11,000 aftershocks that left over 107,000 people injured.

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