YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—Armenia evacuated on Friday 168 more Armenian citizens from coronavirus-hit Turkey in coordination with Turkish and Georgian authorities.
They reportedly boarded four Armenian buses after being bused from Istanbul to the Turkish-Georgian border late at night. They then proceeded to Armenia via Georgia.
Armenia’s government paid for the bus service and covered other expenses incurred during the evacuation. The Armenian Embassy in Tbilisi said it provided the evacuees with food and other essential items during their transit through Georgia which was allowed by the Georgian government.
All evacuees were due to be told to self-isolate for two weeks on their arrival in Armenia.
More than 70 other Armenians were evacuated from Turkey in early April. The Armenian and Turkish foreign ministries arranged their return during a rare direct contact.
Armenia and Turkey do not have diplomatic relations. Successive Turkish governments have also kept the border between the two neighboring states closed because of the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Officials in Yerevan say that more than 60,000 Armenian nationals, most of them migrant workers who lived in Russia and Europe, have returned to their country since March 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic consequences.
According to the Armenian Embassy in Moscow, at least 5,000 Armenians currently stuck in Russia also want to return home but are unable to do so because of the coronavirus-related absence of regular flights between the two countries. Since the beginning of April the embassy has helped to organize a dozen charter flights to Yerevan from Moscow and other Russian cities to evacuate a smaller number of other citizens.