Omani nationals trapped in Turkey after the failed military coup have been flown home by the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO).
A jet carrying 71 passengers touched down in Muscat on Monday night (July 18) after the aircraft was sent to evacuate them from Istanbul airport. More flights are expected to be laid on to bring back several hundred more Omanis stuck in Turkey, which was plunged into crisis after a faction of the military launched a bid to take over the Turkish capital.
“All Omanis were asked to report at the airport around 12pm,” an Oman embassy official in Turkey was quoted in local media.
“[While] 300 Oman nationals wished to stay in Turkey, saying that conditions have improved, around 71 Omani nationals left for Oman.”
No Omanis have been injured or killed in the bloody coup, which exploded into violence on the night of July 15 as thousands of armed soldiers took to the streets and tanks rumbled around the city. Forces loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan quashed the coup as fighting erupted. Entry to Istanbul’s airport was blocked for a couple of hours.
At least 290 people died and 1,400 were wounded, according to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry. Defeated soldiers surrendered on Bosphorus Bridge with more than 2,500 soldiers detained.
In the sweeping purge that has followed since, more than 8,000 have been detained in a government crackdown.
Turkey is a popular destination for Omanis, drawing up to 20,000 tourists a year. Turkish Airlines has resumed its usual nine flights a week service to Oman, it has confirmed.