Two reputed British media companies, the BBC and Sky News, were called out for spreading fake news about Turkish coronavirus aid to the UK.
Britain's leading media outlets BBC and Sky News ran new reports pointing out flaws at the Turkish aid to the UK, saying 400,000 PPE sets from Turkey were unusable.
The reporting was later slammed by the British government and declared fake news.
“Stories in the UK media that 400K items of PPE sent from Turkey are unusable are untrue,” the British Ambassador to Turkey, Dominick Chilcott, said on Twitter.
The BBC claimed that a batch of 400,000 PPE sent from a Turkish private company were ‘useless’ and didn’t meet the safety standards of the UK.
Talking to Anadolu Agency, Chilcott said that just a small portion of the personal protection equipment (PPE) sent by a Turkish private company did not conform to the standards.
“We have received part of an order of around 400,000 gowns from a private supplier in Turkey. While a small number of these gowns have failed tests in the UK, more have passed tests making them suitable for use in the NHS,” the said, echoing the Downing Street statement on the issue.
“The majority of items ordered from the private supplier are awaiting testing in the UK and Turkish Warehouses,” the statement added.
The UK government said the majority of kits passed the test and they will be used in the field.
The British ambassador stated that when the private company did not deliver the products on time, the Turkish government was quick to step in by supplying a total of 68,000 gowns which all passed the quality check and met the safety standards.
In his statement, the British ambassador stressed that Turkish authorities were very helpful during the process and speeded up the export permit process likewise their help with the supply of gowns.
UK’s order and Turkey’s aid: two separate issues
Turkish officials previously stated that the government was not involved in any stage of the production of the 400,000 PPE that Britain rejected for reportedly not meeting safety standards as it was ordered from a private company in Turkey.
“Out of solidarity with the UK authorities, the Turkish government ignored an export ban to authorize this sale. However, no part of the Turkish government was involved in producing, packaging, or delivering the said equipment to the UK,” Turkish officials said.
The dispute took place between the private company which produced the gowns and the UK. So, the issue related to the gowns and Turkey’s previous aid to the UK are separate issues.
However, the claims in UK media repeated all through the day on May 7. With all mainstream media organisations aiming to smear Turkey, the campaign led by BBC and Sky News. The Guardian, Financial Times and all local newspapers were quick to participate in the campaign against Turkey a day after the country recorded the worst death toll in Europe from the coronavirus.
Turkey’s Health Ministry refuted the claims of British media. In a written statement, the ministry said: “As known, the Republic of Turkey donated 100,000 coveralls, 100,000 surgical masks and 50,000 N95 masks to the UK on April 7. The CE and ISO certificates belonging to all of the products which the Republic of Turkey donated and later supplied have been previously submitted to the UK. All these products were sent to the UK after the approval of the NHS, which is responsible for the administration and coordination of the public health system.”
Adding that the British authorities have been contacted and the NHS officials sent a written confirmation to Turkey that there was no problem concerning these products sent by the Turkish government.
In the statements, it was mentioned that an official statement and information about the situation were requested from the relevant authorities of the UK with an official document through the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Talking on the issue, Turkey’s Presidential Communications Director, Fahrettin Altun said that the mentality of those who relied on the anti-Turkish news without determining its accuracy and reliability highlighted the importance of independent, impartial, credible and responsible media.
Adding that if the media stops chasing the truth by being drawn into a vortex of lies, superstition and sensation, there could be no defence of democracy.
Following the announcement by the British Government about the 400,000 coveralls, the products would be delivered from Turkey but it had been delayed for a time due to the problems stemming from the private supplier. When the Turkish government took action to eliminate delaying contractual problems, the delivery became possible.