ANKARA: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on April 4 said the government authorized the transfer of ventilators to Spain and dismissed reports claiming that the Turkish administration sought to confiscate medical equipment amid COVID-19 outbreak.
“Confiscating [medical] products is an ugly accusation,” Çavuşoğlu said in a live broadcast with CNNTürk.
The 3 million-euro worth medical shipment purchased by Spain’s Castilla y La Mancha and Navarra autonomous administrations from a Turkish company was delayed due to the restrictions on the export of medical supplies in Turkey for using all possible equipment to combat coronavirus inside the country.
Spain’s health minister and foreign minister had phone conversations with their Turkish counterparts in order to solve the problem, a Spanish official told Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity.
Çavuşoğlu said a total of 94 countries requested medical equipment and items from Turkey in a bid to battle the virus, and it was not possible to meet the needs of all as the country itself needed such equipment.
Exporting medical items are required to have the authorization of the Health Ministry, he said, adding that Turkey has so far dispatched medical items to 23 countries.
Turkish top diplomat accused some private medical companies of seeking to make more money, without giving names, and making agreements with different actors without informing relevant Turkish authorities.
“[Private companies] go and make contacts with some countries, they put the country [Turkey] in a difficult situation for the sake of earning money. This is not right,” he said.
“We have authorized [export of] 116 ventilators to Spain following the instructions of the Health Ministry, and they will be sent to Spain in the coming days,” he said, adding Turkey was an ally of Spain.
He further noted that Turkey has provided support recently, and the move was highly appreciated by the Spanish authorities.
On his Twitter account, Çavuşoğlu also said: ”Will always stand by friendly Spain. Will overcome these difficult times together.”
Spain thanks Turkey for authorizing ventilators
Meanwhile, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya thanked Turkey on April 4 for authorizing medical supply Spain purchased amid coronavirus outbreak, contradicting Spanish media’s claims.
“Thank you, Turkey and [Turkish Foreign Minister] Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for authorizing the export of Turkish respirators [ventilators] bought by two of our Autonomous Communities Navarra & Castilla La Mancha due to the urgency in Spain, we appreciate the gesture of a friend and ally Turkey,” Gonzalez said in a tweet.
Talking to local television Cuatro a few minutes before her tweet, Gonzalez said she “strongly” rejects all “unfair” and “inaccurate” accusations against Turkey, criticizing remarks of the opposition parties and media reports.
“It should be known that such statements used by the press, political parties and the public are harming our bilateral relations [with Turkey],” she added.
On April 3, the speculations rocked Spanish media claiming that Turkey “seized and blocked” a medical cargo, including medical equipment purchased by Spain amid COVID-19, and that the country will use it for its citizens. The Spanish media reports also claimed that Turkey blocked some medical equipment imported from China, but the Spanish official refuted the allegations, speaking to the Daily News.
Earlier in the day, the Spanish Foreign Ministry made another statement, saying Spain is aware of “restrictions imposed by Turkey for the exit of medical devices due to the worrying evolution of the pandemic in that country, and the decision to deny all licenses for the export of medical devices, including those destined for EU countries.”
The statement reminded Turkey’s “significant donation” of plane-load medical supplies, which arrived in Spain this week in assistance to combat the global outbreak.
In response to the sanctions, a request has been made for the export licenses for the material already purchased, it said, adding: “Spain appreciates that the Turkish authorities have authorized most of the pending export licenses.”
“The only license not authorized to date is the one relating to ventilators purchased from a Turkish company by the Governments of the Autonomous Communities of Castilla La Mancha and Navarra, suspension conditioned by the risk of a shortage of ventilators in Turkey,” it said.
The ministry stressed that Turkish authorities have “indicated their commitment to extend such licenses as soon as possible, as soon as the health situation has stabilized.”
If the transaction does not take place, the Turkish company must return the amount paid, for the inability to deliver the goods, it added.__Hurriyet