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.

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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid