Volcanic ash not to affect Turkey within next 24 hours: official

08:17, April 20, 2010      

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Turkey would not be affected by ash clouds from the Icelandic volcano within the next 24 hours, an environment official said Monday.

A threat or negative effect stemming from the volcanic ash was not expected within the stated period, Undersecretary Hasan Zuhuri Sarikaya of Turkey's Environment and Forestry Ministry was quoted by the semi-official Anatolia news agency of telling a meeting here.

Turkey's Civil Aviation Directorate said Sunday the airspace between the flight level of 200 and 350 would be closed to flights from 4:30 p.m. local time (1430 GMT) Sunday to 12:00 a.m. (1000 GMT) Monday as the volcanic ash spread to Turkey.

Bus companies have organized trips to French cities of Paris and Lyon from the Ataturk International Airport of the Turkish traffic hub Istanbul after hundreds of flights to and from many European cities were disrupted, according to Anatolia.

The ash clouds also forced the cancellation of the flight of Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who was scheduled to fly back to Estonia after a formal visit to Turkey on Sunday. The president returned in Turkish President Abdullah Gul's official car on Sunday, said the agency.

The Eyjafjallajokull volcano in southeast Iceland began erupting on Wednesday for the second time in a month from below the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, hurling a plume of ash 6 to 11 km into the atmosphere and causing the biggest travel chaos in years in Europe.

Volcanic ash contains tiny particles of glass and pulverized rock that can damage engines and airframes.



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