Foreign tourists stranded in Turkey seek to return home

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Foreign tourists, stranded in Turkey in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, are seeking ways to return to their homes.

Some 400 Russian tourists, who came to the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya about a month ago, have been attempting to go back to their country.

The tourists said that they arrived in Antalya 35 days ago and want to go back to Russia because they have run out of money.

However, they could not leave Antalya as borders have been closed as part of the measures taken against the deadly virus.

Around 10 Russian tourists tried to stage a protest on April 27 morning in front of the Russian consulate in Antalya to express their frustration. But the local police did not allow the demonstration.

Two individuals from the group entered the consulate building to speak with Russian officials.

According to the Russian tourists, they did not get an affirmative response from the consulate’s officials.

“We are around 400 people here. We want to go back to our country, but the people at the consulate do not help us,” said Marina Propenko.

She added they were staying at a hostel-like place near the consulate.

“We cannot go back to Russia by bus or car because the border gate with Georgia is closed. Nobody tells us what is going to happen,” Propenko said.

Meanwhile, a Spanish tourist has also been stranded in Istanbul since March 19, after her country closed its borders.

“I wish Spain had done what Turkey has been doing. Spain has not repatriated its citizens from other countries,” said Valentina Blay Moreno.

She arrived in Turkey on March 9 and checked in a hostel in Istanbul.

She initially planned to spend ten days in Turkey. But on March 13, Spain declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus.

Her plane was scheduled for March 19, but due to huge demand, she could not change the date.

When she arrived at the airport on March 19 to board the plane, she learned that all flights had been cancelled.

Moreno contacted the Spanish consulate to seek help. She was told that Turkey would dispatch a plane to bring Turkish citizens back to the country and that she could buy a ticket for this plane.

“The one-way ticket costs 330 euros and I don’t have money to buy this ticket. I asked my friends to help me,” said Moreno, adding that the plane will land in Madrid, which is far away from where she lives and she should be in quarantine for 14 days upon her arrival.

She said that she lives with her father, who is 88-years old, and is very concerned about him.

Hurriyet Daily News

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