Turkey sends medical aid to five Balkan countries
A Turkish military cargo plane carrying medical supplies for use against the coronavirus pandemic arrived on April 8 in
five Balkan countries.
Serbia's capital Belgrade was the first destination for the Turkish aircraft coming from Turkey’s capital Ankara.
Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin and Turkey's Ambassador to Belgrade Tanju Bilgiç received the aid at Nikola Tesla Airport.
Vulin there said that in such difficult times not only do friendly people and countries emerge, but also the future. "In the most difficult times like this, we’re also building our future policy. Serbia will always remember those who
helped it, what happened with it," said Vulin.
Vulin also thanked Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the medical assistance "reaching us at the right time."
Bilgiç, for his part, said that with this assistance, Turkey wanted to show that it stands by Serbia in these difficult times.
The aid includes 100,000 protective masks, 2,000 protective suits, and 1,500 COVID-19 tests. The boxes of aid bore the words of 13th-century poet Mevlana Rumi, "There is hope after despair and many suns after
darkness," plus the message: "With love from Turkey to the people of Serbia."
Serbia has confirmed 2,666 COVID-19 cases so far, with 65 deaths. The plane's second stop after Serbia was Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Arriving at Sarajevo International Airport in the capital, Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic received the aid together with Turkey's Ambassador to Sarajevo Haldun Koç.
Bosnia has confirmed a total of 777 coronavirus cases so far, with 33 deaths.
The plane later proceeded to Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Kosovo.
On social media, Montenegro's President Milo Djukanovic thanked Erdoğan. "Together Montenegro and Turkey in the fight against COVID-19. Thank you, President Erdogan," said Djukanovic.
Montenegro has confirmed a total of 248 coronavirus cases so far, with two deaths. Kosovo confirmed the first COVID-19 case on March 13. Since then, at least 184 have tested positive, while five have died. North Macedonia has 599 cases with 26 deaths.
Last week, Turkey also sent medical aid to Italy and Spain, the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus in Europe.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg had praised Ankara for the aid, along with Italy and Spain.
In March, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that 23 countries have requested aid for coronavirus equipment.