ANKARA

Three Turkish sailors on a world tour detained in the East African country of Eritrea were freed Saturday as a result of Ankara’s intervention.

Selim Ekmekcioglu, Ibrahim Ignak and Erman Lutfu Atamer regained their freedom under the instruction of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the intervention of Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, according to diplomatic sources.

Seyda Ekmekcioglu told Anadolu Agency that her husband called her to say they had been freed.

“I spoke to my husband for the first time today since April 25. H sounded fine. He said their condition was very good and that they were treated very well in Eritrea,” she said.

Seyda Ekmekcioglu also thanked officials for their efforts to free her husband.

Selim Ekmekcioglu set off on a world tour in September 2017. Ignak and Atamer joined him in March.

After arriving the Djibouti which neighbors Eritrea from the southeast, the sailors received supplies and fuel with the assistance of Ambassador Levent Sahinkaya.

As the Suez Canal was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the sailors decided to turn back and land in Eritrea, only to be held by security forces, Seyda Ekmekcioglu recounted.

Selim Ekmekcioglu reached his wife via satellite phone, who then contacted Turkey’s Embassy in Eritrea.

The sailors are expected to arrive in Djibouti in three to four days.

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