Turkey sends medical equipment to help US fight virus

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has dispatched a planeload of personal protective equipment to support the United States as it grapples with the coronavirus outbreak.

A Turkish military cargo carrying the medical equipment took off from an air base near the capital Ankara on Tuesday, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. It was scheduled to land at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington later in the day.

A top official said Turkey is donating 500,000 surgical masks, 4,000 overalls, 2,000 liters (528 gallons) of disinfectant, 1,500 goggles, 400 N-95 masks and 500 face shields.

Turkey has sent similar medical equipment aid to a total of 55 countries — including Britain, Italy and Spain — in an apparent attempt to improve its global standing by positioning itself as a provider of humanitarian aid in times of crisis.

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“We pledge to help our friends and allies in need to the best of our ability and stand in solidarity with nations around the world at this difficult time,” said Fahrettin Altun, the presidential communications director.

The U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, issued a statement thanking Ankara for the donation.

“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.”

He said: “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.”

Satterfield said the equipment would be “received and managed” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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