Erdogan Discusses Coronavirus with Patriarch Sahak II
The Armenian government has organized an effort to evacuate some 100 Armenian citizens who are currently in Turkey, the Armenian foreign ministry said on Thursday, adding that the ground transportation was being coordinated with relevant authorities in Turkey and Georgia.
The foreign ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan told Armenpress that official Yerevan was taking all steps to ensure the timely and safe return of Armenian citizens from Turkey. She added that upon arriving in Armenia, those individuals will be placed under a 14-day mandate quarantine, as it the case with anyone entering Armenia.
“Armenia is taking all possible measures to ensure the return of our citizens to Armenia and the transportation of our citizens who have found themselves in difficult situations in countries that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic is especially prioritized. That is why it was decided to transport our citizens who were in Turkey and who had expressed desire of returning,” Naghdalyan told Armenpress, adding that nearly 100 Armenian nationals in Turkey had contacted the Armenian foreign ministry asking to return to Armenia.
“Through the efforts and financing of the Armenian foreign ministry the transportation of seven dozen Armenian nationals, who have expressed willingness to return is being organized via Georgian,” explained Naghdalyan. “They will be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival. The transportation is agreed upon with relevant Turkish and Georgian services, whose assistance is appreciated.”
The Istanbul Patriarchate reported that on Wednesday Patriarch Sahak II had a telephone conversation with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who inquired about the welfare and needs of the Armenian community in Turkey, as well as the state of affairs of the Patriarchate in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Erdogan also thanked the patriarch for the contribution to the state coronavirus response campaign.
According to the Patriarchate’s statement, Erdogan told Sahak II that he had facilitated the return of Armenian nationals by ensuring that vehicles could be leased to transport the Armenian citizens.
The Patriarchate claimed that Erdogan had offered Turkey’s assistance to Armenia in its efforts the confront the coronavirus crisis by providing medication. Armenpress asked the foreign ministry about Erdogan’s reported offer.
“We are familiar with the news release from the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople about the telephone conversation with the Turkish President. As a third party, we will refrain from commenting unofficial information. Anyhow, such a matter doesn’t exist on the agenda,” said Naghdalyan.