Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to stand in solidarity with the United States in its struggle against the coronavirus pandemic as it recovers from the outbreak.
In a letter sent to President Donald Trump, Erdogan also said he was following “with appreciation” the US president’s efforts to control the outbreak.
The letter was sent on Tuesday along with a planeload of personal protective equipment that Turkey donated to the US. It was made public on Wednesday.
“I hope that this humble assistance will assist your fight against this pandemic and contribute to the speedy recuperation of your citizens who contracted this virus,” Erdogan wrote.
“You can be sure, as a reliable and strong partner of the US, we will continue to demonstrate solidarity in every way possible,” the Turkish president added.
Turkey sent 500,000 surgical masks, 4,000 overalls, 2,000 litres (528 gallons) of disinfectant, 1,500 goggles, 400 N-95 masks and 500 face shields.
“A Turkish military plane landed at Joint Base Andrews last night to deliver medical supplies and other donated items to the United States, our friend and NATO ally, to assist the American people’s fight against the coronavirus,” the Turkish presidency said in a statement.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Turkey on Wednesday for sending the protective equipment, and added his country was “grateful” for Turkey’s support.
During times of crisis, @NATO Allies must stand together. We thank Turkey for their generous donation of medical supplies and protective equipment to help us fight #COVID19 in our hardest hit areas. Americans are grateful for your friendship, partnership and support. pic.twitter.com/5ePVaRdMlf
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) April 29, 2020
Turkey has sent similar medical equipment aid to a total of 55 countries – including the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain.
Turkey-US relations have also been soured in recent years by disagreements over Syria, notably US support for a Kurdish militia there, and the US conviction of a Turkish bank executive.
Earlier this month, Turkish officials said Ankara held talks with the US about possibly securing a swap line from the US Federal Reserve and discussed other funding options to mitigate the pandemic’s economic fallout.