Turkey's Erdogan sends solidarity letter to 'dear friend' Trump in medical aid delivery

Turkey's Erdogan sends solidarity letter to 'dear friend' Trump in medical aid delivery
Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdogan sent his 'dear friend' Donald Trump a solidarity letter as the US becomes the country hardest hit by coronavirus.
3 min read
29 April, 2020
Turkey's Erdogan included a letter for President Trump with the PPE delivery [AFP/Getty]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan included a letter of solidarity to his US counterpart Donald Trump in a Tuesday delivery of medical aid.

Erdogan said he was pleased with US-Turkey relations and that he believed the two countries together would defeat the novel coronavirus, Turkish media reported after the letter was made public Wednesday.

"You can be sure, as a reliable and strong partner of the US, we will continue to demonstrate solidarity in every way possible in meeting the present needs required for the struggle against this pandemic as well as during the upcoming recovery phase," Erdogan wrote in the letter, according to Daily Sabah.

Referring to President Trump as his "Dear friend", Erdogan said: "Our continued cooperation in the post-pandemic phase and close coordination... will be essential, particularly in the recovery of the international economy. I look forward to exchanging ideas and suggestions on this issue at the earliest convenience."

Erdogan said he hopes the "humble" medical assistance sent to the US will support the country in its fight against Covid-19.

Turkey said Monday it would will send hundreds of thousands of items of (PPE) including face masks to the United States to aid in its efforts against the coronavirus pandemic. The delivery reached the US on Tuesday.

"At a time when even developed countries are asking for Turkey's support, we have offered our support to a wide geography, from the Balkans to Africa," Erdogan told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

A Turkish military plane delivered 500,000 surgical masks, 400 N95 masks, 4,000 overalls, 2,000 litres of disinfectant, 1,500 goggles and 500 face shields, the presidency said. The shipments comes after a request by Washington, it added.

The US has become the country hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, registering both the highest number of cases and deaths from the highly contagious respiratory disease.

Washington has reported more than 1 million Covid-19 cases, including 58,471 fatalities as of Thursday.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, Turkey is the seventh worst hit country in the world in terms of total coronavirus cases.

The country has retained a relatively low number of deaths despite reporting more than 114,000 cases of the virus, with the toll currently standing at 2,900. Doctors and opposition figures have raised concerns over underreporting.

The number of new reported cases and deaths has been on the decline over the past week, with President Erdogan foreseeing a "return to normal life" by the end of May.

On Monday, Erdogan announced the imposition of a three-day curfew during the coming weekend in 31 Turkish provinces. 

Read more: Turkey coronavirus cases decline as frontline hospitals continue the fight

The same provinces have been subjected to weekend curfews for the past three weeks, including a four-day curfew to mark the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan last week.

The weekend curfews will continue until the end of the holy month, Erdogan said, adding that a schedule for a return to normality would soon be released.

"We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope we can celebrate two bayrams [holidays] after Ramadan," he added.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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