By Sezgin Pancar
MERSIN, Türkiye (AA) – The first Pakistani ship carrying humanitarian aid for earthquake victims arrived at Türkiye’s southern Mersin International Port on Monday.
The ship belonging to the Pakistani navy set off with a ceremony held at the Karachi Port on Feb. 28.
The military ship carrying 22,000 blankets, 1,800 winter tents, and various support materials was welcomed by Mersin Governor Ali Hamza Pehlivan, Pakistan's Ambassador to Türkiye Yousaf Junaid and other officials.
"Of course Türkiye and Pakistan have diplomatic relations, but beyond that, there are fraternal relations, and these fraternal relations are deepening and developing day by day. We are experiencing an example here today,” Pehlivan said.
Stressing that Türkiye is trying to heal the wounds of the devastating earthquake, he said the aid from brotherly and friendly countries such as Pakistan made them very happy.
The solidarity in difficult times is unforgettable and will be remembered with kindness, he added.
Pehlivan said that the second aid ship is expected to arrive in Mersin on March 23.
"We are not friends, we are brothers. We believe that every problem of Türkiye is also a problem of Pakistan. The hearts of Turks beat with Pakistan and the hearts of Pakistanis with Türkiye,” Junaid said.
On Feb. 6, magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes struck 11 provinces — Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Sanliurfa.
More than 13.5 million people in Türkiye have been affected by the devastating quakes as well as many others in northern Syria.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Saturday that the death toll had risen to over 49,500, including more than 6,800 foreign nationals.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar