- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has issued a new letter to President Trump calling for increased solidarity between the two countries after years of a strained relationship.

Along with the letter, released Wednesday, Mr. Erdogan sent a host of medical supplies to the U.S. to aid its fight against the coronavirus outbreak including surgical masks, disinfectant, N-95 masks, and face shields.

The U.S. has been the hardest hit country by COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, and has infected more than 1 million and killed over 58,000 across the country.

“I hope that this humble assistance will assist your fight against this pandemic and contribute to the speedy recuperation of your citizens who contracted this virus,” Mr. Erdogan wrote.

“I hope that in the upcoming period, with the spirit of solidarity we have displayed during the pandemic, Congress and the U.S. media will better understand the strategic importance of our relations,” he said.

U.S.-Turkey relations have been tense in recent years over disputes regarding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally’s military involvement in Syria and its purchase of a Russian missile defense system, which prompted the Pentagon to halt Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 program and threaten sanctions.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Twitter to express gratitude for Turkey’s donation.

“During times of crisis, @NATO Allies must stand together,” he said.

“We thank Turkey for their generous donation of medical supplies and protective equipment to help us fight #COVID19 in our hardest hit areas. Americans are grateful for your friendship, partnership and support.”

Turkey has reported 114,653 confirmed cases of COVID-19, marking the highest of any Middle Eastern country, 2,992 deaths and 38,809 recoveries, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

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