Fifteen Turkish sailors arrived in Istanbul early Sunday after being abducted by pirates off the coast of Nigeria.
The sailors were escorted by security forces early Saturday to the Turkish Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria.
Turkish Ambassador Melih Ulueren and other officials welcomed the seamen who were kidnapped after their Liberian-flagged ship was hijacked by pirates.
The crew was rescued Friday and brought back to Turkey on a Turkish Airlines flight.
They were welcomed by their families and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at Istanbul Airport.
Returning to their homeland after being held captive for 21 days, Capt. Mustafa Kaya told reporters: "We have gained our freedom after 21 days, now we are happy to meet our families. (The feeling of) turning back to our country cannot be described by words."
Kaya thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Çavuşoğlu and Ulueren for their help.
"They made all kinds of sacrifices that they could. Also, our company was always with us in these negotiations by being extremely careful," he said.
He explained that they were held in a forest in rough conditions for three weeks, sharing an environment with reptiles and dangerous animals.
"We were in a forest. There were tough conditions. We were always under the custody of armed people. But we were not exposed to any physical violence and treatment," he said, adding that at times the crew psychologically struggled.
"We didn't experience physical violence, but they exerted psychological pressure during the negotiations. They said 'we will kill you if your company does not do what we want," Kaya said.
Kaya said that at the time of their abduction the crew had locked themselves in a secure room but that the pirates had forced their way in after a five-hour struggle.
"They were constantly opening fire, firing randomly inside. At that time one of our colleagues died. He was shot in the belly. We are very sad," he said.
The crew was finally taken by boat and released at a safe location specified by the company. Their release came two weeks after the attackers made contact to discuss a ransom.
Kaya said the pirates were persuaded to release the crew through negotiations conducted by representatives of their company, Borealis, in Germany and the U.K.
Ünsal Dilsiz, another sailor, expressed his sorrow about the killing of his Azerbaijani colleague and sent his condolences to his family.
Prior to the sailors' arrival in Turkey, Çavuşoğlu announced their impending return on Twitter late Saturday. "We are waiting for you with your families," he said.
In the attack, 15 of Mozart's crew of 19 were abducted on Jan. 23. Of the crew, one Azerbaijani national was killed.
Following the attack, the ship anchored in nearby Port-Gentil, Gabon, in Central Africa, but with only three surviving crew members were on board. They returned to Turkey on Jan. 30.
The vessel was managed by Borealis Maritime, a firm based in London, England, and Hamburg, Germany.