‘After darkness, there is much brighter sun’: Turkey sends a planeload of medical aid to Britain

Britain has received the first planeload of emergency equipment sent by Turkey to help in the fight against coronavirus.

The items, despatched by Turkey’s Health Ministry in Ankara, include personal protective equipment such as surgical masks and hazmat suits. A second flight is scheduled for Saturday.

The boxes bore the words of 13th century Sufi Mevlana Rumi: “After hopelessness, there is so much hope and after darkness, there is much brighter sun.”

The aid follows similar items donated by Turkey to Italy, Spain, North Cyprus, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Iran.

There were regular updates about the delivery of the aid from Turkey’s Defence Ministry Twitter account. One, showing boxes being loaded onto a plane, said the aid was sent following a directive from the Turkish President:

“Pre-flight preparation [sic] images of our aircraft which has departed to England to deliver medical supplies in line under the directions of President Erdogan,” and displayed the British and Turkish flags.

Another said: “Following the delivery of medical supplies to the UK and our President Mr Erdoğan’s personal letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, our plane is on its return journey to Ankara”.

The cargo was sent to Britain on an Airbus A400M plane. The transfer of medical aid supplies from Turkey to United Kingdom was conducted via the “Rapid Air Mobility clearance mechanism”, which the Turkish Ministry of Defence said was used “for the first time to facilitate transit through Europe’s airspace”.

Earlier today, Dominic Raab, the British Foreign Secretary, thanked his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a phone conversation for sending the medical supplies, according to the Anadolu News Agency.

The Turkish Embassy in London tweeted, “Hard times reveal true friendships. Turkey stands by its strategic partner United Kingdom in these difficult times. We will overcome this crisis together through solidarity and cooperation.”