First group of Turks threatened by Libyan general returns to Turkey

The first group consists of Gama Construction employees returning to Istanbul from Misrata. (Faik Kaptan - DHA Photo)

The first group of Turkish nationals who were evacuated from Libya returned to Turkey on June 24 after they were threatened with arrest on spying claims.

Some 248 Turkish citizens, working for the construction company GAMA in the central coast city of Sirte, have returned to Turkey with a Turkish Airlines (THY) flight from Misrata in northwest Libya.

“We did not have any trouble,” said the crew chief Veysel Bir, speaking to the press at the airport. “We can go back in a month and a half,” he added.

Fatih Aydoğmuş, an engineer for the company who lived in Libya for 14 months, explained that they were not in a life-threatening situation, but left the country as a precaution. He also said he was considering returning since their projects have been left unfinished.

At the weekend, former rogue General Khalifa Haftar gave Turkish and Qatari nationals 48 hours to leave Libya, claiming some were engaged in espionage. He threatened that any remaining Turks or Qataris would face being arrested by his forces.

On June 23, Libya’s Foreign Ministry distanced the government from Haftar’s threats and promised to protect foreign nationals in the country.

Turkey closed its consulate in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, in May and warned against travelling to the country due to the deteriorating security conditions.

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