Turkey to send medial aid to Israel

Erdogan risks angering his supporters for providing aid to Jewish state for ‘humanitarian’ reasons, despite constantly attacking them in international forums.

ANKARA - Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Qalan said that his country will send medical aid to Israel after receiving a request for help with the coronavirus pandemic.

"We received a request from Israel to provide it with medical supplies," they said in an interview with a private Turkish channel on Sunday.

"I think the shipment will be ready within days, and we will simultaneously send aid to Palestine."

They said they believed that Turkey would quickly bypass the damage caused by the spread of the coronavirus because of the solidity of its economic structure.

The spread of COVID-19 in Turkey is one of the world’s fastest, infecting over 52,000 people and killing 1,101.

The Turkish government has announced over the past few days plans to send shipments of medical aid to several countries, including Britain, Italy, Spain, Libya and others, to help confront the disease, while demanding that medical supplies be provided to Turkish hospitals first after failing to enact proactive measures to prevent the virus from spreading since its appearance in the country.

They said that it is currently difficult to predict a specific date for the end of the epidemic, and that eradication of the virus is linked to the extent to which measures taken against it have been successfully implemented.

Qalan stressed that one of the country's priorities in the current stage is the production of medical supplies, securing the needs of hospitals and maintaining public security in the country, as well measures to maintain the strength of the economy.

After weeks of refusing to enforce compulsory quarantine, Turkish authorities ordered citizens to stay in their homes for 48 hours in 31 cities, starting from midnight on Friday, as part of strict new measures demanded by the opposition and some activists for days.

A Turkish official told the US Agency Bloomberg that three planes landed at Incirlik Air Force Base coming from Israel to transport the cargo Thursday, explaining that his country's decision was "for humanitarian reasons."

Bloomberg indicated that it is too early to say whether Turkish aid, which comes after a period of "relatively frigidity" between Ankara and Tel Aviv, will pave the way for improved relations between them after years of tension.

The agency added that before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power in 2003, Turkey was Israel's closest partner in the Muslim world, and their armies had strong ties.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated in 2010 when Israeli forces raided a Turkish fleet heading to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, killing 10 civilians.

Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador, recalled its ambassador, and withdrew from joint military exercises, and while Israeli military sales to Turkey stopped, other trade relations remained active.

The Justice and Development government, which is facing severe criticism for its failure to take proactive measures since the beginning of the virus in the country, is trying to participate in the humanitarian effort adopted by other countries such as China and Russia to show its diplomacy in the best way during the worldwide crisis.

But this soft power play could place Erdogan, who presents himself as a grandson of the Ottomans who refused to sell Palestine, and misses no chances to attack Israel in international, in the cross-hairs of some of his supporters.

According to official data from the Israeli Ministry of Health, received Sunday morning, the number of deaths due to the coronavirus in the Jewish state rose to 103.

The data, which was reported by the Jerusalem Post on its website, also showed that the number of recorded infections increased to ten thousand and 878 cases.