REUTERS: A snowstorm forced the closure of Turkey’s key shipping straits and sweeping flight cancellations on Saturday, while hazardous roads left many drivers stranded overnight in Istanbul, a city of 15 million people.
Turkish Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights in and out of the city’s main Ataturk airport and state-run Anadolu news agency said dozens of planes were diverted to other airports because of the heavy snowfall, which began on Friday evening.
About 6,000 of its passengers were transferred to hotels on Friday evening due to the cancellations and 20,000 meals were distributed to those stranded at the airport, Anadolu said.
Pegasus Airlines cancelled some 200 flights in and out of Sabiha Gokcen airport, on the Asian side of the city.
The Bosphorus strait, which runs through Istanbul, and the Dardanelles strait further south were closed to transit shipping due to poor visibility on Saturday morning, Turkey’s coastguard authority said.
The straits are one of the world’s most important choke points for the maritime transit of oil, carrying over 3 percent of global supply, mainly from Russia and the Caspian Sea.