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COVID19: Turkey reprimanded for blocking Cyprus supplies

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Brussels urged Turkey “to maintain the spirit of solidarity without discrimination” during the COVID-19 pandemic after denying entry into its airspace a Cyprus-bound flight with medical equipment.

European Commission spokesman Peter Stano told CNA “the best way to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its impact is international solidarity and close cooperation”.

“We are aware of this issue and the extraordinary circumstances under the coronavirus pandemic really require solidarity without exceptions.

“Turkey has been providing assistance medical supplies to many countries all around the world and participated also in the coronavirus global response conference.

Therefore we would expect and encourage Turkey to maintain this spirit of solidarity without discrimination,” Peter Stano stated.

Cyprus on Wednesday said a flight it chartered from China carrying 36 tonnes of COVID-19 medical supplies were diverted to Moscow after Turkey denied the aircraft entry into its airspace.

China

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xingyuan said Turkey’s refusal to allow a Cyprus charter flight from China carrying medical supplies to fly over its airspace undermined international cooperation during the crisis.

He told CNA the “pandemic has claimed many lives and distorted human nature. In response to this global public health crisis, it is urgent and vital to building a Community of Shared Destiny for Humankind”.

“We need to act now against all actions that undermine international cooperation in combatting COVID-19,” the diplomat said.

The flight finally arrived Cyprus 10 hours late on Wednesday as it was diverted to Moscow before reaching Larnaca.

Ankara enforces an embargo on Cypriot air and shipping traffic.

Cyprus chartered the flight from China to bring medical supplies needed in the fight against novel coronavirus, including protective masks, shoe covers and disposable surgical gowns.