The U.S. and Turkey´s Humanitarian Aid Role in Covid-19 Context

By THO Team Member, Tania Valdes

As Covid-19 spreads through the world, international cooperation might be the only way to cope with the devastating effects of the pandemic. International organizations such as the United Nations have continuously called for a coordinated global response. The fight against the virus that knows no borders requires international cooperation and solidarity. 


For a rising power such as Turkey, seeking a regional leadership status, solidarity is without a doubt a huge opportunity to expand its influence abroad. By committing to humanitarian aid during the Covid-19 pandemic, Turkey reinforces its reputation as a humanitarian actor. 

According to the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Turkey is the third country providing medical support to roughly 60 countries in the world to tackle the coronavirus by the first months of the pandemic. 

Turkey delivered medical aid such as masks, overalls, and test kits to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, and Kosovo to fight against the coronavirus outbreak. Moreover, Turkey sent 5,000 locally manufactured intensive care ventilators to Somalia on May 2 in an effort to assist the country’s frail and overburdened health infrastructure in tackling COVID-19. 

Turkey’s humanitarian policies and its health infrastructure have proven their stability and competence in the face of the pandemic. Turkey's health minister, Fahrettin Koca, announced that over 1 million tests had been carried out and the number of recoveries doubled as of May 3. Turkey expanded its humanitarian assistance in these dire times to 55 countries, including Britain, Italy, Spain and the U.S.


The United States has been, and continues to be a global leader in terms of humanitarian assistance. The U.S. provided around $93 million in humanitarian assistance across the world, including throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Along with the U.S. private sector, the American people continue to lead in responding to this pandemic.

On the other hand, USAID is supporting countries affected by COVID-19 across the globe working directly with governments, multilateral organizations, NGOs, the private sector, and other organizations. Since the start of the outbreak, USAID and the State Department committed more than $1.6 billion in health, humanitarian, economic, and development assistance specifically aimed at fighting the pandemic in more than 120 countries.


Turkish NGOs such as the Turkish Red Crescent Society have also been very active in conducting humanitarian operations over the world.

What is the Turkish Red Crescent?

From the time of its establishment in 1868, the Turkish Red Crescent has contributed to the development of social welfare and has been providing, presenting and offering various and important services for social solidarity. 

Turkish Red Crescent has been working to provide humanitarian aid both nationally and internationally since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic. Within the scope of COVID-19 Response; Turkish Red Crescent has provided cash assistance to 11 countries and has distributed 1.338.323 humanitarian aid materials in total to 20 countries.