Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed US-Turkish COVID-19 cooperation during a phone call with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday.
State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said that the Pompeo and Cavusolgu “discussed cooperation to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including the repatriation of both Turkish and US citizens to their home countries, supply chain cooperation and the NATO alliance efforts to respond to the pandemic.”
She also noted that “Pompeo thanked Turkey for its generous donation of personal protective equipment.”
Why it matters: With Turkey mired in its own coronavirus fight, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nonetheless sent a shipment of personal protective equipment to the United States last month — complete with a letter to President Donald Trump bemoaning Ankara’s plummeting reputation on Capitol Hill. The United States has recorded some 1.5 million COVID-19 infections, including nearly 100,000 deaths. Turkey has recorded some 150,000 coronavirus cases and roughly 4,000 deaths.
What’s next: Turkey’s official line is that the coronavirus has prompted it to delay fully activating the Russian S-400 missile system, initially scheduled for last month. The S-400 is a source of significant tension between the NATO allies, and the Trump administration maintains that it will implement legally mandated sanctions on Ankara per a 2017 Russia sanctions law should it activate the system.
Know more: Amberin Zaman takes a look at how Turkey’s supply shipment scored it a sorely needed public relations win in the United states.