Turkey has launched “the most comprehensive evacuation operation in history” by sending planes, ferry boats and buses to bring back thousands of nationals from unrest-hit Libya, Turkish officials said Wednesday.
According to Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim, two high-speed ferries, Orhangazi-1 and Osmangazi-1, departed from Libya’s Benghazi port at 3:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. respectively on Wednesday, and were expected to arrive in Turkey’s southwestern city of Marmaris after midnight. Escorted by a Turkish frigate, the two ships will bring back 3,035 Turkish citizens.
The Turkish Red Crescent has started setting up emergency tents in Marmaris for the evacuees, and the transportation minister said he will personally go down there to evaluate the preparations and greet the arrivals.
There were more than 25,000 Turkish citizens working in Libya before chaos began last week. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said early Wednesday that 5,099 Turks had been evacuated within 72 hours.