Whether on the streets or at the airports: Heavy snowfall in the past few days is still causing major traffic problems in Turkey and Greece.
In Turkey and Greece, there were still big problems on Tuesday after heavy snow fell for the past few days. Air traffic from the major airports in Ankara and Athens is only operating on a limited scale, and not all blackouts have been resolved for a long time.
Meanwhile, many people have had to stay in their cars at airports, but also on snow-covered highways.
Istanbul Airport partially resumed operations at midday, but many flights are still canceled. Foreign planes were allowed to land from Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the operator told dpa. However, a regular operation is not expected until late at night. One runway is free, and work is underway to de-ice the other two.
Stranded at the airport
Early on Monday, passengers sometimes had to wait for hours on planes. Meanwhile, travelers stuck at stations protested and chanted “we need a hotel” (roughly: “we need hotels”), videos on social media showed.
Bus stops are closed until Wednesday morning, while the situation on the streets of Istanbul is deteriorating – the city center is again impassable, Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu tweeted.
Athens airport is also far from normal operations. Domestic flights, for example from airports in small islands, were canceled in many cases, as were international flights, only a portion of which took place as scheduled on Tuesday. Schools, authorities and stores must remain largely closed until Wednesday. There are still areas where electricity has been cut off because trees have collapsed under the weight of the snow and power lines have been cut.
There have also been huge traffic problems since Monday, especially in the greater Athens area and central Greece. Thousands of drivers had to spend the night in their cars on the highways. The army came to pick up the people and move the vehicles off the road. On Tuesday morning, about 1,200 people were trapped in their cars in the snow, some waiting up to 22 hours.
No winter tires
The chaos on the country’s highways already began on Monday, when poorly equipped cars and trucks without winter tires and snow chains could no longer block the way for removal equipment. Winter tires are not mandatory in Greece – especially in the greater Athens area, it rarely snows in winter and if it does, then only light.
Civil Defense Minister Christos Stylianides apologized to the public. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has condemned private highway operators to pay €2,000 compensation to anyone stranded overnight.