Turkey evacuating Turkish nationals from Ukraine via land

Turkey evacuating Turkish nationals from Ukraine via land

Turkey evacuating Turkish nationals from Ukraine via land

Turkey has ramped up efforts to evacuate thousands of Turkish nationals from Ukraine via land after they were stranded there following Russia’s invasion.

Turkish officials from foreign missions in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova, are now at the Ukrainian borders of those countries to coordinate the evacuation efforts.

There were around 20,000 Turkish nationals in Ukraine, and 5,000 of them returned to Turkey shortly before the conflict broke out.

“We have launched our evacuation operations. We are in close cooperation with the counties in the region to facilitate the passage of our citizens,” said Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran.

Initially, Turkish nationals were transported with four buses from Kiev to the Romanian border, while 70 Turks in Lviv reached the Polish border. Some 270 Turkish nationals set out on their journey from Odessa to the Romanian border and 100 others left Kharkiv.

Turkish authorities have also prepared plans to evacuate citizens via air and sea routes but since the Ukrainian air space is closed, those plans have been put on hold for the time being. Turkish Airlines’ planes will be dispatched to Kiev as soon as the air space reopens and two cargo planes belonging to the Turkish Air Forces will be used in the evacuation efforts.

The Ukrainian police escorted them until they left Kiev, said Burak Tanış, who worked in the city.

“The Ukrainian police led us through safe areas,” Tanış said.

Also, a group of Turkish nationals in Moldova made a request with the Turkish Foreign Ministry to leave the country. They included people who recently traveled to the country to attend an event one week ago and 31 people working at a plant owned by a Turkish investor.

They arrived in Turkey via Romania and Bulgaria. Meanwhile, many Ukrainians have entered Turkey via land through the border crossings.