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Turks flee Libya after renegade general warns of violent backlash

English.news.cn   2014-06-23 23:09:40

ANKARA, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of Turkish nationals are departing Libya on Monday following a stern warning by renegade Libyan General Khalifa Haftar, in which he called on Turks and Qataris to leave the country, accusing them of sponsoring terrorism in the volatile North African country.

According to the semi-official Anadolu Agency, Turkey's Benghazi Consular General Ali Sait Akin said around 250 Turkish citizens are preparing to evacuate the country on Monday, though most Turkish nationals had already left the country when the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued its own warning earlier.

On Sunday, Col. Mohammed Hegazy, spokesman for Haftar, called on Turks and Qataris to leave Libya within two days, saying that his forces would not be responsible for any "public backlash" if they were still present after the deadline.

The North African nation has been gripped with political turmoil in recent years and has witnessed a rise in armed militias and factions.

Haftar, who played a major role in toppling Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi, has led a series of military operations against Islamist militia throughout the country in an effort to " purge terrorists" since May.

According to Haftar's spokesman, "public anger" in Libya directed at the policies of Turkey and Qatar, which are accused of "sending spies" to eastern Libya.

"The Libyan government is responsible for the security of the foreigners in Libya," the Turkish consular general said, calling on the Libyan government to take necessary measures for the security of them.

The consular general also urged the Libyan government to reject those who target foreign nationals working in the country.

"(Turkish workers) have no purpose other than serving Libya," the Turkish consul general said.

Turkey closed its consulate general in Benghazi in early June and issued a warning for its citizens against traveling there because of the deteriorating security situation.

Editor: yan
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