Turkey donated 2 million masks to German state North Rhine Westphalia but did not make it public because Foreign Minister Heiko Mass objected the Turkish help and granted permission of import only under the condition of secrecy.
German media reported that North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) premier Armin Laschet clashed with the Foreign Minister Heiko Mass over the medical equipment aid from Turkey. According to the media, Laschet secured 5 million face masks donation from Turkey through a German businessman whom has investments in Turkey. However, German Foreign Minister did not grant import permission claiming Turkey has human rights violations and asked Laschet to import masks from Turkey. German media reported that Laschet lashed out on Maas over the telephone for his stance and reminded the foreign Minister of China’s human rights record. After the harsh telephone conversation, German Foreign Minister granted the permission for 2 million masks from Turkey but on the condition of full secrecy.
German media reported that the masks had arrived in North Rhine Westphalia state. Around one million ethnic Turks also live in NRW. The premier Armin Laschet is called by the right-wing circles “Armin the Turk” for his good relations with German-Turkish community in the state.
Experts say German politics are the main reason behind the feud between Armin Laschet and foreign Minister Heiko Mass. Heiko Mass is from SPD the coalition partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU and Maas is known for his anti-Turkey policies. Laschet on the other hand often seen as one of the strong candidates to replace chancellor Angela Merkel who is serving her last term.