The closure of Istanbul Airport – where the roof of one of the cargo terminals collapsed under heavy snow, causing no injuries – grounded flights stretching from the Middle East and Africa to Europe and Asia.
Thousands of passengers have also been stranded in cars, buses as main roads in the city were closed by heavy snowfall.
Red Crescent teams provided aid to the stranded passengers on the highways.
The winter’s first snow created a fun atmosphere across the squares of Istanbul’s ancient mosques, where children built snowmen and tourists posed for selfies.
But it proved a major headache for the 16 million residents of Turkey’s largest city, where cars ploughed into each other skidding down steep, sleet-covered streets and highways turned into parking lots.
The Istanbul governor’s office warned drivers they would not be able to enter the city from Thrace – a region stretching across the European part of Turkey to its western border with Bulgaria and Greece.
Shopping malls closed early, food delivery services shut down and the city’s iconic “simit” bagel stalls stood empty because suppliers could not get through the snow.
Istanbul Airport serviced more than 37 million passengers last year, becoming one of the world’s most important air hubs.
“Due to adverse conditions, all flights have been temporarily stopped for air safety,” the airport said in a statement, posting pictures on Twitter of yellow snowploughs circling stranded aircraft.
The airport extended its suspension twice, saying late Monday that service would not resume before 4:00 am (0100 GMT) Tuesday.
Most of Turkey’s main institutions stayed open.