Turkey condoles with Italy, Spain over virus deaths
Turkey's president has condoled with Spain and Italy over deaths due to coronavirus, the infection that has spread to 180 countries in over three months.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent letters to prime ministers of Italy and Spain as Turkish medical aid to fight the virus reached those countries, Turkey's Communications Directorate said on Thursday.
The medical supplies included Turkey-made masks, protective gear and sanitizers.
"Our friend and ally Italy is one of the leading countries in the fight against the epidemic," Erdoğan wrote to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Turkey shares Italy's mourning as the country honored coronavirus victims with a minute of silence, Erdoğan said, adding that Ankara earlier sent medical aid to Italy through the Turkish Red Crescent.
"We delivered additional material from our military channels in response to your call for assistance through NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC)," he said.
The letter, the statement said, also mentioned articles on Italian media which claimed that medical supplies were confiscated by Turkey.
Erdoğan thanked Italian officials for their discreet statements against such claims.
In a separate letter to Spanish premier Pedro Sanchez, the Turkish head of state, besides condolences and informing about the aid, said: "We show all the ease we can regarding the export of the medical materials you need from our country."
Both Italy and Spain are worst-hit by COVID-19. At least 13,915 and 10,003 deaths have been reported here respectively, as of Thursday evening, according to Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center.
The global death toll from the virus has surpassed 50,000, with nearly a million people infected.