Germany asks Turkey to keep coronavirus donation a secret
Mass asked Ankara to conceal the donation of 2 million masks to help the North Rhine-Westphalia in its fight against Covid-19, German media reported earlier this week.
A spokesperson from the North Rhine-Westphalia region confirmed Turkey's delivery of the masks, German state TV Tagesschau reported.
German media later revealed that Foreign Minister Mass had asked Turkey to conceal the donation.
A source close to the Turkish government confirmed the German request, saying it was due to Turkey being a "red flag" for some sectors of the German population.
Meanwhile, Turkey on Saturday lifted restrictions on the export of medical supplies, a move that should facilitate the sale of equipment to western countries where there have been shortages.
The commerce ministry lifted the restrictions on the sale abroad of respirators, intubators and disinfectants such as ethanol, according to a decree published in the official journal.
Previously the sale of such supplies was either prohibited or subject to a requirement to obtain authorisation from the Turkish government, with permission given sparingly.
"These restrictions were put in place temporarily in response to the pandemic. The decision to allow exports reflects... Turkey's growing capacity to contain the coronavirus," a presidential official told foreign media.
The lifting of the restrictions represents an opportunity for Turkish companies which have considerably increased their production capacities since the start of the pandemic, at a time when many countries are still struggling to obtain adequate supplies of medical equipment.
Unlike other countries, Turkey has no shortage of respirators or masks.
Ankara, which has been playing the diplomatic card on medical aid since the start of the crisis, sent a military plane full of equipment to Somalia on Saturday, the Defence ministry said.
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Turkey has recorded more than 3,300 Covid-19 deaths with nearly 125,000 infections.
Ankara has also sent medical equipment including masks other hard-hit countries such as the UK and US to help them in the fight against the coronavirus.
President Erdogan said at the time that Turkey had provided equipment to 55 countries during the pandemic.