Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya posted a message on Twitter on Saturday night thanking Turkey and the country’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, for granting an export license for ventilators ordered by Spain.
- We appreciate the gesture of our friend and ally, González wrote.
As late as Saturday morning, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo had reported that Turkey had stopped air cargo in Ankara containing 150 breathing machines ordered by Spain from China. The equipment was intended for the Autonomous Communities of Navarre and Castilla-La Mancha, which were in distress due to the coronavirus epidemic, but according to the newspaper, it appeared that they would never arrive at their destination.
Read more: Spain ordered 150 ventilators from China - Turkey hijacked the machines for itself
There was speculation in the Spanish media. Foreign Minister González himself also said at a press conference on Friday that Turkey has probably taken the equipment for its own use.
"In recent days, Turkey has imposed restrictions on air cargo containing medical supplies, motivated by the provision of the country's own medical supplies," González said.
He was reported to have discussed the matter with the Turks on several occasions with Health Minister Salvador Ilna, but to no avail. González said he believed the machines had already been lost and nothing more could be done about it.
The ventilators were stuck in Ankara because, from the point of view of the Turkish administration, they are covered by the ban on the export of medical supplies in force in the country due to the coronavirus. This, in turn, is due to the fact that the components of the ventilators ordered from China were assembled only in Turkey on behalf of a Spanish company.
The news caused outrage in the world, and Turkey received strong criticism.
On Sunday, El País said the “U-turn” of the Turks had been preceded by “diplomatic maneuvers” on the Spanish side.
Turkish state news agency Anadolu also told the Spanish foreign minister about the thanks on Saturday. In his news, Anadolu stressed how González had told the local Cuatro TV channel that he was “strongly” denying all the “unfair and untrue” allegations against Turkey.
- It would be good to know that such statements from the press, political parties and the public will damage our bilateral relations with Turkey, González said, according to Anadolu.
The Turkish Foreign Minister responded to González’s tweet on his own behalf.
- We always stand by friendly Spain. Let’s get through these difficult times together, Cavusoglu tweeted.