Turkey urges citizens to leave Libya 'quickly'

2015-01-08 15:27

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Ankara - Turkey has urged all Turkish citizens remaining in Libya to leave "quickly" due to the deteriorating security situation in the conflict-torn country.

Turkey on Wednesday condemned as "unacceptable" and "irresponsible" a statement allegedly made by the Libyan Air Force in a Facebook post warning all Turkish civilian and military planes would be shot down should they enter Libyan air space.

"We advise once more our remaining citizens in Libya to quickly leave because of the unstable security situation and negative developments... in recent weeks," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The warning came after Turkish Airlines suspended flights to Misrata this week, its only remaining destination in Libya after it had earlier pulled its flights to the capital Tripoli as well as Benghazi and the inland desert city of Sebha.

Libya has been in chaos for more than three years after dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed in a Nato-backed revolt. The country is awash with weapons and powerful militias, and has rival governments and parliaments.

The foreign ministry attacked the reported Libyan Air Force's statement, "which is against international law [and] is totally unacceptable."

It added that Ankara had raised the issue with the UN special envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon. "We strongly condemn this hostile statement targeting our country," said the ministry.

It pointed the finger of blame at the international community, saying that its failure to respond to government air strikes encouraged "those who made this irresponsible statement".

The ministry said that civilian flights between Turkey and Libya were an important humanitarian and economic link for the war-torn country.

Read more on:    un  |  turkey  |  libya  |  north africa

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