News / Africa

Turkish Nationals Leaving Libya as Turmoil Escalates

A Turkish man, second from right, greets family members after arriving in Turkey from Libya February 22, 2011.
A Turkish man, second from right, greets family members after arriving in Turkey from Libya February 22, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +

With the crisis continuing to deepen in Libya, Turkey's prime minister has announced mass evacuation measures to remove thousands of Turks from the country. Hundreds of Turks have already fled the country.

Every day brings plane loads of Turks escaping the turmoil in Libya. Arriving at Istanbul's main airport, many of them have grim stories to tell, like this man: "At night it was very violent," he said. "We could hear the gunshots. We could see the clouds of smoke, All the Turks are worried."

A woman had a similar story.  "We live in the center of the city and suddenly there is no police or people in regular uniforms," she said. "There were just people who were shooting with machine guns at everything. I believe many people died."

According to the Turkish government there are nearly 25,000 Turks living in Libya, most of whom are working there.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in his weekly address to parliamentary deputies,  said that 800 people had been already been evacuated and a further 2,800 want to leave.

The prime minister said seven planes were ready to leave and two ferryboats escorted by a Turkish frigate, were about to arrive in Libya.

Mr. Erdogan also gave a warning. "I would like to remind both officials and government opponents in Libya to be extremely careful to ensure the security of foreigners in their country," he said. "Taking cruel steps against people voicing their democratic demands will only exacerbate the spiral of violence and threaten the country’s unity."

Unconfirmed Turkish news reports claim Libyan security forces have detained several Turkish nationals, accusing them of being involved in the unrest. Other reports say the nationals are accused of working for Israel. Such reports only add to the anxiety faced by those in Turkey awaiting news from their relatives.

One woman whose family is stranded in Libya said, "They are stuck in the middle of the desert. They are in a dire situation and because they are in the desert nobody knows about their situation."

The Turkish prime minister has until now largely  avoided speaking about events in Libya. That is in contrast to his call on the then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to step down. But observers say with Turkey having such a large number of nationals living in Libya and having close multi billion dollar trade deals with the country, the prime minister has to tread carefully.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid