Spain says Turkey authorised export of ventilators, denies seizing reports

Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya thanked Turkey on Saturday for authorising the export of urgently needed ventilators contrary to reports of the Turkish authorities blocking shipments, said Anadolu news agency.

Gonzalez thanked Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu “for authorising 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 Spanish television channel Cuatro a few minutes before her tweet, Gonzalez also said she strongly rejected all "unfair" and "inaccurate" accusations against Turkey that had been made in the Spanish media. 

On Friday, reports in the Spanish media said that Turkey had "seized and blocked" a medical cargo, including medical equipment purchased by Spain to tackle the coronavirus, in order to prioritise its own citizens.

"It should be known that such statements used by the press, political parties and the public are harming our bilateral relations [with Turkey]," she said.

Çavuşoğlu also confirmed the shipment, and responded to Gonzalez's tweet, saying Turkey was an ally of Spain.

Anadolu as quoted him as saying: “We have authorised [the export of] 116 ventilators to Spain following the instructions of the Health Ministry, and they will be sent to Spain in the coming days.”

The medical shipment worth €3 million purchased by Spain from a Turkish company was delayed due to restrictions on the export of medical supplies from Turkey for use in combating the coronavirus, said Anadolu.

Spain has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 11,800 deaths, and almost 125,000 cases recorded so far.