By Faruk Zorlu
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish students are on their way back home due to a sandstorm in the Canary Islands, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said late Monday.
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], Cavusoglu said on Twitter.
"We did our duty. They're returning," he said, wishing them well.
High winds since Friday have been blowing sand from the Sahara Desert to the islands, a Spanish territory off the coast of northwestern Africa, and gusts are expected to continue until Monday evening.
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 Sunday night sleeping at the airport in Gran Canaria.