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Turkey expressed condolences to Italy, Spain over COVID-19 deaths

Turkey expressed condolences to Italy, Spain over COVID-19 deaths

As the number of deaths in Italy and Spain amid the new coronavirus outbreak keeps rising, Turkey sent condolences to the countries, expressing their readiness to support.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent letters to the 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 mourns alongside Italy 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 also mentioned articles from 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 offering condolences and informing about aid sent, 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 among the worst-hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. At least 13,915 and 10,003 deaths have been reported in each country respectively, as of Thursday evening, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.