Upon the official request of Greek authorities, Turkey evacuated three Greek citizens stranded in Djibouti along with Turkish citizens being flown out of the country as part of coronavirus measures, Anadolu reported.
According to Turkish officials, the sailors, ages 68, 71 and 77, thanked the Turkish government and the embassy.
The evacuation was carried out following an official request from the Greek authorities.
The rescued sailors were reportedly brought to the Ipsala border gate in northwestern Turkey's Edirne in a private vehicle belonging to the Greek Embassy in Ankara after they disembarked from the plane.
Officially, Foreign Minister of Greece, Nikos Dendias, announced the rescue operation on Twitter and he was criticised by one of his followers as he only thanked the Greek and Djibouti governments for this operation, making no mention of Turkey's contribution.
A typical Greek,Turkey resuced 3 greek sailors stranded in Djibouti but he's only thanking to Djibouti&greek authorities
Well,i thank to Turkey's Foreign Minister @MevlutCavusoglu &Turkish Airlines to help people in need. You made us proud once again❤️🇹🇷https://t.co/vqiyEelkaG https://t.co/xvPZCLkQNI
— e (@callmeends) April 27, 2020
"The adventure of the other three Greek sailors who remained in Djibouti has come to a happy end. Thanks to the excellent cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Ministry of Shipping, they arrived in Greece a few hours ago," Dendias wrote.
It is also reported that the three sailors had been captured on two Greek-owned ships on the coast of Djibouti last September, having fallen victims of the unpaid debts of the ships' owner for port fees and fuel. Two of their colleagues were released by authorities in Djibouti in December.
Last week, Turkey's Foreign Ministry reported that Turkey has stood firm with its allies and extended assistance in terms of evacuation to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Turkey has returned some 60,000 of its citizens and enabled nearly 20,000 foreigners in Turkey to return home since the outbreak of the virus.
It has also sent personal protection equipment (PPE) to 57 countries including the UK, Italy, Spain and several Balkan countries to help in their fight against the fatal disease, the Health Ministry said yesterday.