U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Turkey on Tuesday for sending medical aid to the country amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has pummeled the world’s largest economy and overwhelmed its medical system.
Hours after a Turkish military plane landed in the United States with medical supplies to help Washington combat the disease, Pompeo said on Twitter that NATO allies must stand together during the pandemic.
“We thank Turkey for their generous donation of medical supplies and protective equipment to help us fight #COVID19 in our hardest-hit areas,” said Pompeo. “Americans are grateful for your friendship, partnership and support.”
The A400M military cargo plane touched down at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, D.C., on Tuesday afternoon.
The shipment includes 500,000 surgical masks, 4,000 overalls, 2,000 liters of disinfectant, 1,500 goggles, 400 N95 masks and 500 face shields, according to the Turkish presidency.
Prepared under the instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the boxes containing the medical aid carried a message for the people of the US:
“After hopelessness, there is so much hope, and after darkness, there is the much brighter sun,” it said, quoting the words of 13th-century scholar Mevlana Jalaladdin Rumi.
Turkey has helped at least 55 countries, including Italy, Spain and the U.K., and remains the world’s third-largest provider of humanitarian aid during the pandemic.
U.S. deaths from the coronavirus have surpassed 58,300, with the number of infections standing at more than 1 million, two-thirds of the world’s total.
The pandemic has killed more than 217,000 people worldwide, with the total number of infections exceeding 3.1 million, while nearly 926,000 have recovered from the disease, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.