Pompeo thanks Turkey as COVID-19 aid, letter to Trump arrive in U.S.

A shipment of Turkish COVID-19 medical aid, along with a letter from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to his United States counterpart Donald Trump, has arrived in Washington, Anadolu news agency said. 

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Turkey on Wednesday for sending the supplies, and said that NATO allies must stand together during the times of crisis.

"We thank Turkey for their generous donation of medical supplies and protective equipment to help us fight #COVID19 in our hardest hit areas," Pompeo said on Twitter. "Americans are grateful for your friendship, partnership and support."

The A400M Turkish military plane touched down at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, D.C. with a cargo that included 500,000 surgical masks, 4,000 overalls, 2,000 litres of disinfectant, 1,500 goggles, 400 N-95 masks, and 500 face shields

A statement by Turkey’s Defence Ministry on Twitter said that a letter from Erdoğan to Trump had also been delivered with the shipment.

The supplies were prepared under Erdoğan’s instructions and came with a quote by the 13th century Sufi mystic Rumi that said: “After hopelessness, there is so much hope, and after darkness, there is much brighter sun.” 

Turkey has sent medical supplies to at least 55 countries, including Italy, Spain and Britain, Anadolu said. 

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu shared a photo of the plane on Twitter and said that: "In addition to providing the largest amount of humanitarian aid in the world, Turkey is the third biggest supplier of medical aid worldwide during the coronavirus outbreak.” 

Turkey's ambassador to the United States, Serdar Kılıç, met the shipment and will deliver Erdoğan’s letter to Trump to U.S. officials. Kılıç said he hoped the aid would help alleviate the burden shouldered by the "devoted" healthcare workers in the United States, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 coronavirus.

"We firmly believe that global solidarity is key for success in this fight," he said. "We are determined to stand by the United States and our other allies to prevail together over this pandemic." 

The United States’ ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, also thanked Ankara for donating the medical supplies. 

"During times of crisis, like the worldwide effort to combat COVID-19, close coordination among like-minded allies and partners is key to developing a swift and effective response. None of us can do this alone," Satterfield said in a statement.

"On behalf of the U.S. Government, I want to thank our NATO ally Turkey for today’s generous donation of medical supplies and other essential equipment," he said. 

Tensions between Turkey and the United States grew last year over Ankara’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 air defence systems over Washington’s objections. 

United States officials threatened Turkey with sanctions if it pushed ahead with the S-400 purchase, arguing that the Russian system would not be compatible with NATO weaponry and might enable Russia to spy on Western military technology, such as the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Trump has so far blocked any sanctions against Turkey, which has frustrated some lawmakers in the United States.

Erdoğan said last month that Turkey would activate its S-400 missile defence systems in April.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkish-military-plane-with-covid-19-aid-lands-in-us/1822168
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