Travellers from Turkey have been stranded in the south-eastern Armenian province of Ararat for months due to a lack of funds, with the ministry of foreign affairs saying it has been unable to send relief supplies and other assistance to the affected residents.
The ministry said in a statement that Sahara Travel Agency was forced to stop providing services to the local population on November 2 after the company’s chief executive, Eran, resigned from his position.
Eran, who is the only member of the company to have served in the Turkish armed forces, said the closure was a result of the government’s failure to provide any funds for Sahara to provide services to Ararat, including the delivery of food, medicine and other essential supplies.
The company was founded in 2002 by a Turkish businessman who later opened the company in India.
Sahara’s board members have previously said they were not involved in the company before the crisis and that the company is not controlled by any one of the three Sahara members.
However, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Sahara’s chairman, Huseyin Akbal, accused the government of failing to provide the company with sufficient financial resources, including for the relief and reconstruction efforts.
“We have been forced to close Sahara because of the lack of resources to ensure the safety and security of the residents,” Akbal said.
“The government of Armenia has no authority over us and the government does not know how to fund the relief of the citizens of Araragany, nor is there any money to provide basic necessities like food, water, electricity and medical supplies to them.”
The minister added that the government had yet to provide financial aid for the Ararat residents.
Sahar’s website has also been down since December.
In a statement, a spokesman for Sahar said it was in talks with the authorities in Ararat to provide emergency assistance to residents.
“The Sahara Board of Directors has reached a preliminary agreement with the Araragi Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the relief needs of the Araraagany people.
The Board is currently in discussions with the Ministry regarding providing humanitarian aid to the Aroraagany community,” the statement said.