Turkey military prepares contingency plans for Libya evacuation
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked the military to prepare contingency plans to evacuate Turkish citizens from strife-torn Libya, dpa reported Friday according to local media.
At an emergency meeting held in Ankara Thursday with the National Security Council and other officials, Erdogan told the armed forces to "be ready at any time for a spot operation," according to the daily Radikal.
The officials discussed worst-case scenarios amidst concerns that Turkish citizens in Libya were threatened not by anti-government insurgents but by proponents of the Gaddafi regime itself.
Of the 25,000 Turkish citizens living in Libya, more than 8,000 had been evacuated by planes and ships through the efforts of the Turkish Foreign Ministry by Friday.
Erdogan stressed the importance of getting the remaining citizens safely out of the country, saying a military operation was only to be considered as a last resort if diplomatic efforts and normal procedures failed.
A potential operation might involve boat and helicopter units that would be sent to reach people in hard-to-reach parts of Libya, reports said.