Date: 26 Dhul-Qadah 1443   Saturday 25 June 2022

  • Last Update: Saturday 25 June 2022، 07:14:53.

Turkey continues to evacuate more citizens from Ukraine

07:14 18 March 2022 Author :  

Turkey has evacuated 15,196 citizens since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, adding that more were on the way.

In a message he posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Çavuşoğlu said 159 more citizens from Lviv, Chernivtsi, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro departed for Turkey on buses and minibuses amid evacuation efforts.

The foreign minister noted that Turkey has provided border-crossing assistance to some 4,965 people.

Meanwhile, 25 Meskhetian Turks evacuated from Ukraine arrived in Bursa province.

Welcomed by the provincial migration authority staff, the group settled in the Halime Hatun dorm in the Nilüfer district.

“Many tanks passed by the village we lived in. We felt the earth move as they passed and we were forced to flee,” Alik Yusufov told Anadolu Agency (AA), as he thanked Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for helping them.

Feriddin Muhammedov, another Meskhetian Turk who arrived in Bursa, also thanked Turkey for taking care of them and saving them.

Previously, Meskhetian Turks, most of whom are Turkish citizens, were brought from Ukraine in groups in 2015 and settled in the Üzümlü district of Erzincan, upon the instruction of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and some of them returned to Ukraine afterward. After the Russian invasion began, they returned to their homes in the Üzümlü district of the eastern province of Erzincan after a five-day journey organized by the Foreign Ministry. The Meskhetian Turks were welcomed by their relatives.

In 1944, they were expelled from their homeland – the Meskheti region of Georgia – by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in an attempt to remove Turks from the shores of the Black Sea. They faced discrimination and human rights abuses before and after deportation. During that period, they migrated mainly to three countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. However, some experienced another migration in 1989 when ethnic clashes started in Uzbekistan, and they traveled to eastern Ukraine in 1990. Some of them have seen three deportations in their lives, while the others have endured two separations.

Çavuşoğlu noted that Turkey has been coordinating evacuation efforts with Ukraine and Russia.

Since Russia launched its war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, more than 2.5 million people have fled to other countries, with some 2 million more displaced within the country.

At least 564 civilians have also been killed and 982 others injured in Ukraine, according to U.N. estimates./DS

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