Turks stranded on Canary Islands back home

Turks stranded on Canary Islands back home

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turks stranded on Canary Islands back home

AP Photo

Turkish students studying in the Canary Islands are back in Turkey due to severe sandstorms on the western coast of the Sahara Desert and the Atlantic Ocean.

The families of students had asked for help on social media from the Turkish Foreign Ministry upon the cancellation of flights due to the sandstorm.

The students, who were stranded at Madrid’s Adolfo Suarez-Barajas international airport due to the storm, are returning on a plane taking off at 10 p.m. local time [1900GMT], Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Twitter late on Feb. 24.

“We did our duty. They’re returning,” he said, wishing them well.

The students arrived in Istanbul yesterday morning by plane.

High winds since Feb. 21 have been blowing sand from the Sahara Desert to the islands, a Spanish territory off the coast of northwestern Africa.

The freak weather situation affected more than 800 flights and between 12,000 and 14,000 passengers this weekend and the region remains on alert.

Most airports in the region have resumed operations, but they are still recovering from the cancellations of hundreds of flights over the weekend.

Local media reported chaotic scenes in which around 4,000 people had to spend the night sleeping at the airport in Gran Canaria.

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