Erdoğan sends letters to Italian, Spanish leaders over COVID-19 aid
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sent separate letters to the prime ministers of Italy and Spain after Turkey delivered equipment to its European allies, the two countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with condolences for the lives lost due to COVID-19.
Erdoğan sent letters to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon on April 2, the Presidential Communication Directorate announced in a statement. A Turkish military cargo plane transported tons of military equipment to both countries on April 1 upon their request through NATO.
Underlining that the world is passing through very difficult times due to COVID-19 which claimed the lives of many people, Erdoğan stressed Italy’s fight against the pandemic with wishes that these pains will not reoccur.
“As a sign of our friendship, we have dispatched aid material to Italy through the Turkish Red Crescent. We are dispatching additional equipment via our military channels upon your request to the NATO Europe-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center. We have also done our best in facilitating the export of medical equipment that Italy urgently needed in its fight against the outbreak,” Erdoğan said in the letter.
Turkey has shown that it is Italy’s friend especially at a time when the European Union was dragging its feet for providing assistance, Erdoğan stressed, while criticizing some baseless reports in the Italian media. “I would like to express our satisfaction over prudent statements by the Italian authorities,” he stated.
‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’
In his letter to Spanish Prime Minister Perez-Castejon, Erdoğan extended the condolences of the Turkish people over the losses of lives in Spain due to the pandemic. “As Turkey, we commend the Spanish people’s astute and determined stance against the crisis in full unity,” he stated, wishing all the best for the Spanish government in its fight against the virus.
“In Turkish, we have a saying ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed.’ With this understanding, we are sending medical equipment to your country by a military aircraft upon your request from the NATO Europe-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center,” Erdoğan said.
Turkey is doing best to dispatch the equipment Spain needs by pushing its own conditions and at a moment when EU is putting obstacles in providing aid, he added.
Both Italy and Spain thanked Turkey for the aid, while NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg hailed Turkish assistance.