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Turkey to allocate Port of Mersin for Beirut’s use

Turkey will allocate the Port of Mersin for commerce, customs and storage usage until the Port of Beirut begins operating again, Vice President Fuat Oktay said Saturday during his visit to Lebanon’s capital with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu following a massive deadly explosion shaking the city this week.

During a press conference following his meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Oktay said that Turkey is ready to help rebuild Beirut’s port and surrounding buildings.

“All hospitals and all of Turkey’s air ambulances are at the service to Lebanon,” Okay said, reiterating that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had offered the medical aid on the day of the explosion that left 160 people dead and more than 5,000 people injured.

“We have come here to express our condolences,” he said, stating that Turkey has brought 400 tons of humanitarian aid and offered to deliver further materials, including for reconstruction.

During their visit, Turkish officials are expected to meet with Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Hassan Diab, the office of the vice president said on Friday.

A fire at a warehouse at the Port of Beirut led to a huge blast on Tuesday causing massive material damage in several neighborhoods of the capital.

The blast is believed to have been caused when fire touched off 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored at the port since it was taken from an impounded ship in 2013. The cause of the initial fire is not yet known.

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