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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs