Turks leave Libya as consul general calls on Libyan government for responsibility

Photo: Turks leave Libya as consul general calls on Libyan government for responsibility / Turkey

Some 250 Turkish citizens are leaving Libya, after a call from a renegade Libyan general to Turks and Qataris to leave the country's east within two days or suffer a backlash from the public, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Most Turkish nationals have left the country since the Foreign Ministry issued its own warning, Anadolu Agency quoted Turkey's Benghazi Council General Ali Sait Akın as saying on June 23.

"The Libyan government is responsible for the security of foreigners in Libya. We expect the Libyan government to take this responsibility, guarantee the security of foreigners and object to the targeting of foreign workers, who have no purpose other than serving Libya," said Akın.

Libyan Ambassador to Turkey Abdulrezzak Mukhtar, meanwhile, has sought to assure Ankara and has called on Turkey to "be calm."

As the Benghazi Airport is closed, efforts are underway to bring the 250 Turkish nationals back to Turkey via the airport in Labrak. They will be transferred out by Libyan Airlines and African Airlines, as Turkish Airlines does not have flights to Labrak.

The consulate's work has been transferred from Benghazi to the capital city of Tripoli since June 14 due to security reasons, said Akın.

The spokesman for renegade Libyan general Khalifa Hafter told reporters in Benghazi on June 22 that citizens of Turkey and Qatar had "48 hours to leave," warning that "measures would be taken" against those discovered after the ultimatum, which he said started on Saturday, June 21.

"Those carrying Turkish or Qatari citizenship must leave the area between the Imsaid crossing [on the Egyptian border] and the city of Sirte [in central Libya] within 48 hours," Col. Mohammed Hegazy said. "We will not be responsible for any backlash against them from the public if they are still present in these areas after that."

Hegazy said the public was "angered" at the policies of Turkey and Qatar and accused the two countries of "sending spies" to eastern Libya.

Ankara closed its consulate in Benghazi earlier this month and warned its citizens against traveling there because of the deteriorating security situation.

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