Turkish nationals in coup-hit Niger arrive in Istanbul on special flight

Turkish nationals in coup-hit Niger arrive in Istanbul on special flight

Türkiye evacuates citizens from Niger on Turkish Airlines flight after the military takeover in West African country

By Ferhat Yasak

ISTANBUL (AA) - Days after Niger's ruling military junta closed the country's airspace, Turkish nationals stranded in the West African nation arrived on Wednesday in Istanbul aboard a special flight.

Turkish Airlines flight TK635 landed at Istanbul Airport at about 4.30 a.m. local time (0130GMT) after a roughly five-hour journey from the International Diori Hamani Airport in Niamey.

Carrying mostly Turkish citizens, the Airbus A330-200 departed Niger on a special permit after the airspace closure, announced Sunday, in the aftermath of a military coup late last month that saw democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum overthrown by his personal guard.

One of the passengers, Tugyan Isik told Anadolu that previous flights out of the country had been postponed.

Thanking Turkish authorities for helping secure their return, he pointed to the difficulties in the country due to power outages after neighboring Nigeria cut off Niger's supply.

"Nigeria cut off electricity. Its (Niger's) internal power is severely limited. There is electricity for 2-3 hours a day, and none for the rest. Internet relies on it (electricity), water relies on it. There have been numerous systemic problems," he said, recounting his experience.

Niger’s junta announced Sunday that the country's airspace was closed until further notice in response to the possibility of military intervention from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, the head of Niger's presidential guard, declared himself the new leader of the country after a coup on July 28.

Tchiani said the coup was staged due to the "deteriorating security situation" in the West African country.

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