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Latest News ! 2 ships carry 3,000 Turks back home from Libya, more ships en route
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 23 Feb 2011 Wed 01:58 pm


2 ships carry 3,000 Turks back home from Libya, more ships en route

23 February 2011, Wednesday / AP, ANKARA
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Turkey evacuated 3,000 Turks on two ships from the chaos of Libya´s popular uprising on Wednesday, but thousands of foreigners remained stranded at the country´s main airport awaiting flights home, forcing the US to seek evacuation of its citizens by sea.

Several other countries including Russia, Germany and Ukraine dispatched more planes to evacuate their citizens.

The Turkish commercial ships, which left from the Libyan port of Benghazi, are being escorted by a navy frigate, and the first one was expected to reach the Mediterranean port of Marmaris around midnight, the Foreign Ministry said. Turkey has sent two more commercial ships to Libya.

Turkey has about 25,000 citizens and more than 200 companies involved in construction projects in Libya worth more than $15 billion. Some of the construction sites came under attack by protesters. Turkey has now evacuated more than 5,000 of its citizens from Libya over three days, about 2,000 of them by plane, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said.

"We are carrying out the largest evacuation operation in our history," he said.

Turkey was struggling to reach all of its citizens in Libya and also received calls for help from many other countries.

"So far, a total of 21 countries have asked Turkey to evacuate their citizens as well," Davutoğlu said.

One Turkish citizen has been killed in Tripoli, he said. Davutoğlu said Turkey was considering diverting its ships from Libya to Tunisia for quicker evacuation.

"We will then bring them from Tunisia by planes," he said.

Davutoğlu stressed that Turkey was not leaving Libya and would send "food and medicine to Libyan brothers by ships."

Libya is one of the world´s biggest oil producers, and many oil companies were evacuating their expatriate workers and families.

The International Organization for Migration said several Asian, African and one European government have requested its help to evacuate their citizens from the North African country. Migrants were heading to Libya´s land borders with Egypt and Tunisia and the group was trying to help find accommodation for those who already have arrived at the border, said Jemini Pandya, a spokeswoman for the Geneva-based organization.

Pandya said it was difficult to estimate how many migrants, many of them undocumented, would flee Libya, but "it will be thousands."

The first planeload of Russians to be evacuated from Libya landed in Moscow, bringing 118 Russians, authorities said. Three more planes are expected to arrive later in the day after Russian diplomats helped negotiate the evacuations. A ship was setting sail for Ras Lanuf, the site of Libya´s largest refinery and port, to evacuate up to 1,000 Russians, Turks, Serbs and Montenegrins. The ship was expected to stop in Istanbul on the way back.

A Bulgaria Air plane, carrying 110 Bulgarians and six Romanians from Tripoli - most of whom are medical and construction workers - arrived in Sofia.

"I saw horror," a nurse who gave only her first name, Polly, told reporters upon her arrival in Sofia.

Some passengers said they heard gunfights while others speculated the situation could stabilize soon.

"We decided to return because the situation is unstable. When we left Tripoli there was some kind of euphoria, everybody was celebrating some kind of victory," engineer Natalia Vakova said. "But that´s Libya - absolutely unpredictable."

On Tuesday, British Airways and Emirates, the Middle East´s largest airline, said they were canceling flights to Tripoli because of the violence there.

The U.S. State Department said that Americans would be evacuated from Libya by ferry to the Mediterranean island of Malta on Wednesday.

"The airport was mobbed, you wouldn´t believe the number of people," Kathleen Burnett, of Baltimore, Ohio, said Tuesday as she stepped off an Austrian Airlines flight from Tripoli to Vienna. "It was total chaos."

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has urged his supporters to strike back against the Libyan protesters in an escalation of a crackdown that has led to widespread shooting in the streets. Nearly 300 people have been killed in the nationwide wave of anti-government protests.

Unease over the safety of U.S. citizens intensified after attempts to get some of them out on Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful.

In a notice sent to U.S. citizens in Libya late Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said Americans wishing to leave Libya in the government-chartered ferry should be at the As-shahab port in Tripoli with their passports starting at 9 a.m. local time Wednesday. The ferry will depart for Malta no later than 3 p.m. local time.

Elsewhere, Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Christoph Prommersberger said a Dutch KDC-10 air force transport plane left Tripoli late Tuesday with 32 Dutch evacuees and 50 other nationalities.

"What we hear from our people is it is chaotic but functioning," he said of the Tripoli airport.

Britain said it was redeploying a warship, the HMS Cumberland, off the Libyan coast for a possible sea-borne evacuation of British citizens stuck in the north African country.

Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Wednesday Italy has agreed to a request from Britain and Serbia to allow humanitarian flights evacuating their citizens to land on Italian soil.

Italians continued to take Alitalia flights from Tripoli home, and a few hundred have already returned to Italy. An Italian air force plane which landed in Libya on Wednesday was expected to bring more Italians home, said Frattini.

Separately, two Italian naval vessels are headed to eastern Libyan ports to get out citizens from Benghazi and other cities where airports are damaged. Italian citizens based in Misurata, Libya, said their private company is arranging evacuation by sea because the airfield at that coastal city has also been damaged.


İnşallah Libyan people will soon have democratic goverment instead of Dictatorship.

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