Argentina, Turk trapped by coronavirus

25 Turks trapped in Argentina because of coronavirus

Gözde Orgun is one of around 25 Turkish citizens who were trapped in Argentina when the pandemic broke out, and who have not yet been able to return to Turkey with their families.

At least 25 Turkish citizens, several of them students, are currently trapped in Argentina without being able to return to Turkey due to the closure of borders and the suspension of flights because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Although Turkey has already repatriated tens of thousands of its citizens who had been stranded around the world when the COVID-19 pandemic forced to suspend air transport, due to the distance, planes have not yet been sent to Latin American countries , including Argentina, where several students and travellers have been trapped since March, according to Turkish media.

This is the case of Gözde Orgun, one of those travel-loving people who was touring several countries in Latin America before the coronavirus outbreak was declared. When the virus started to spread, she was in the province of Santa Cruz, in the Patagonia region.

“The first case of coronavirus in Argentina was detected on March 13th, and they began taking precautionary measures the next day,” explains Orgun, who was travelling the country in a van with her boyfriend and her dog. It was then that the difficulties began, since they were not allowed to enter a town to buy food and had to ask a farmer for help so that he could buy it and bring it to them.

She has been able to rent apartment in Buenos Aires, but at a high price

Things started to change when the press echoed their situation and their case became known to the public and the authorities. On March 18th the three were able to move to Buenos Aires after spending two weeks in camps; but by the time they reached the capital, a curfew had been declared.

“As hotels and hostels are closed, we rented a house for a very high price. When we arrived, there were two flights to Turkey. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, pets were forbidden to enter Turkey. I had to stay here because I couldn’t find a place to leave my dog”, she says.

Her case is not the only one, and in fact Orgun herself claims to be in contact with other Turks who are trapped in Argentina because of the situation created by the pandemic. They have contacted the Turkish embassy and the communication office of the Presidency of the Republic (CIMER) asking to be evacuated, and have even posted a video on social media.

“The Foreign Ministry contacted us through social media and informed us that options are being studied to evacuate Turkish citizens in Latin America, and that they will inform us as soon as the situation becomes clear,” says Orgun, who only wants to be able to return home and pass the coronavirus pandemic there. “Currently there is a curfew in Argentina. Our families are concerned. We want to return to Turkey,” she insists.