UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS FROM SPANISH AND TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTERS; ADDS DETAILS
By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) – Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya thanked Turkey on Saturday for authorizing medical supply Spain purchased amid coronavirus outbreak, contradicting Spanish media's claims.
"Thank you, Turkey and [Turkish Foreign Minister] Mevlut Cavusoglu 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 Twitter message.
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 Friday, 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.
Cavusoglu also confirmed the shipment, and responded to Gonzalez's tweet, saying Turkey was an ally of Spain.
“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 added.
The €3 million 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.
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.
After originating in China last December, COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has spread to at least 181 countries and regions across the world, with its epicenter shifting to Europe.
The pandemic has killed over 64,000 people, and infected over 1.1 million, while almost 246,000 people recovered from the disease so far, according to figures collated by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, in Spain, nearly 11,800 deaths, and almost 125,000 cases recorded so far, while over 34,200 people recovered from the epidemic.