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Turkish military plane with COVID-19 aid lands in US

WASHINGTON

A Turkish military plane carrying medical supplies landed in the US on Tuesday to support the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic as it reported over one million confirmed cases.

The A400M military cargo plane touched down at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, D.C.

The shipment includes 500,000 surgical masks, 4,000 overalls, 2,000 liters of disinfectant, 1,500 goggles, 400 N-95 masks and 500 face shields, according to the Turkish presidency. 

Prepared under the instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 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 Jalaluddin Rumi.

Turkey has helped at least 55 countries, including Italy, Spain and the UK, and remains the world's third largest provider of humanitarian aid during the pandemic. 

Speaking at the event, Turkey's US Ambassador Serdar Kilic said he hoped the aid will help alleviate the burden shouldered by the "devoted" healthcare workers in the United States. 

"We firmly believe that global solidarity is key for success in this fight," he said. "We are determined to stand by the United States and our other allies to prevail together over this pandemic." 

On behalf of Washington, Ambassador Philip Reeker, a diplomat who oversees European affairs, thanked Turkey for the donation and said the US is "dedicated" to continuing bilateral cooperation to fight the disease. 

US thanks Turkey for donation

Earlier in the day, US Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield thanked Ankara for donating the medical supplies in cooperation to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak in the worst-hit country.

"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," Satterfield said in a statement.

"On behalf of the US Government, I want to thank our NATO Ally Turkey for today’s generous donation of medical supplies and other essential equipment," he added. 

US deaths from the coronavirus have surpassed 58,300, with the number of infections standing at 1,010,717 -- two thirds of the world's total.

The pandemic has killed more than 216,000 people worldwide, with the total number of infections exceeding 3.1 million, while more than 923,000 have recovered from the disease, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University of the US.

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