Turkey sends coronavirus aid to Italy, Spain
“Health supplies prepared to fight COVID-19 together, and with the hopes of seeing brighter days were sent en route to Spain and Italy by A-400M type planes belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces,” Turkey’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said that protective face and eye masks, overalls and anti-bacterial fluids were sent to Italy and Span, Turkey’s NATO allies.
The protective gear was produced by “domestic and national” facilities in military factories, it said.
The plane took off at 09.04 a.m. local time, according to the statement.
There was also a quote from Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi on the boxes, which was translated to Italian and Spanish.
"There is hope after despair and many suns after darkness."
Italy’s death toll reached 12,428 on March 31, the highest in the world.
Spain’s reported death toll is 8,189.
Erdoğan late on March 30 launched a “National Solidarity Campaign” where citizens can donate money for the country’s fight against COVID-19. He said that he was donating his seven-month salary for the campaign.
In his address to the nation, Erdoğan said that Turkey has sent many medical and hygiene equipment to many countries and is in the process of sending more to Italy and Spain.
“Turkey is a country which has to carry on producing and keep the wheels turning,” Erdoğan said.
“We have sent medical and hygiene equipment to many countries during their difficult times,” he added.
The president said that a “plane full of equipment” would be sent to Spain on April 1. He also said that “a ship full of aid” was being sent to Italy via the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay).
“The more powerful Turkey is, the more it will give a helping hand to its friends,” he said.
NATO chief hails Turkey
NATO's secretary-general on April 1 praised Turkey for sending medical aid to Italy and Spain, the worst hit in Europe by the coronavirus pandemic.
"#NATO solidarity in action: Turkey sending a cargo plane with medical supplies to Italy & Spain today to support our joint fight against #COVID19," said Jens Stoltenberg on Twitter.
"Proud to see NATO Allies supporting each other through our disaster relief center. #StrongerTogether," he added.
The Italian delegation in NATO also took Twitter to thank Turkey.
"Following Italy’s activation of NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre, today our ally Turkey will deliver critical medical equipment to Italy. Deeply grateful to our Turkish friends for their solidarity!" said the delegation.
The Spanish delegation to NATO also expressed gratefulness for Turkey via their official Twitter account.
"After Spain's request to NATO's EADRCC, a new supply to fight COVID-19 arrives from our ally Turkey," it said.
Spain's Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez also thanked Turkey on her official Twitter account.
The Spanish Foreign Ministry also tweeted: “Many thanks to our Turkish friends!”
Italian and Spanish embassies in Ankara also thanked for the medical aid on Twitter.