Turkish and Russian leaders discuss cooperation in fight against Covid-19, and evaluate situation in Syria and Libya during phone conversation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in Moscow, Russia on March 5, 2020.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in Moscow, Russia on March 5, 2020. (AA)

The presidents of Turkey and Russia held a phone call on Monday to discuss cooperation in the fight against the novel coronavirus and regional issues, statements from both countries said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin also discussed the steps which will be taken after the pandemic, as well as bilateral relations and regional developments, especially regarding Syria, Turkey's Directorate of Communications said in a statement.

Putin also thanked his Turkish partners for facilitating the repatriation of compatriots from Turkey, as well as for providing humanitarian assistance to a number of Russian regions, according to a statement from Kremlin.

"They expressed their shared commitment to stepping up joint efforts in order to implement the Russia-Turkey agreements on the Idlib de-escalation zone, including the Additional Protocol to the September 17, 2018, Memorandum, adopted on March 5 in Moscow," the Kremlin stated.

Both leaders voiced their concerns over the escalation of hostilities in Libya and noted the need to immediately resume the permanent truce and the intra-Libyan dialogue based on the resolutions of the Berlin International Conference on January 19, 2020, approved by UN Security Council Resolution 2510, the statement said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey will be one of the key countries in terms of globalisation and regionalisation.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey will be one of the key countries in terms of globalisation and regionalisation. (Fatih Aktaş / AA)

Turkey helped 81 countries amid Covid-19

Meanwhile, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday a total of 135 countries sought assistance from Turkey to fight coronavirus.

Turkish authorities dispatched aid and medical equipment to 81 countries, Cavusoglu said in a live broadcast, adding Turkey is  working to assist the remaining countries.

"Nothing will be the same," he said, referring to the post-virus period. 

"Turkey will be one of the key countries both [in the sense of] globalisation and regionalisation."

Cavusoglu said the virus claimed the lives of 535 Turkish expats, and the bodies of 438 were brought home for burial.

Pompeo, Cavusoglu discuss cooperation 

Also on Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke by phone with Cavusoglu on cooperation between Washington and Ankara against the coronavirus pandemic.  

"Pleasure speaking with Turkish Foreign Minister @MevlutCavusoglu today about US-Turkey cooperation to counter Covid-19," Pompeo tweeted.

"We will continue to bring Turkish and US citizens to their home countries, cooperating on supply chain issues and @NATO Alliance efforts," he wrote.

The phone conversation came days after Turkey sent two planes of medical gear to help the US combat the disease and the latest flights to repatriate their citizens.

More than 70,000 Turkish citizens were evacuated from 115 countries amid the pandemic.

Turkey has reported over 150,000 cases since the start of the outbreak and more than 111,000 of the patients have fully recovered. 

The death toll of the country now stands at 4,171.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies