Turkey closes embassy in Yemen, evacuates diplomats

Turkey closes embassy in Yemen, evacuates diplomats

Turkey closes embassy in Yemen, evacuates diplomats

A member of the Yemeni security forces stands guard outside the Turkish embassy in Sanaa after it closed following security concerns on Feb 15. AFP Photo

Turkey announced on Feb. 16 that it has suspended the operations of its embassy in Yemen and evacuated all of its diplomats, including Ambassador Fazlı Çorman, because of the worsening situation in the capital Sanaa due to intensified clashes between Shiite militia and Sunni groups.

“After the completion of necessary arrangements for our citizens in Yemen, our Sanaa Embassy has temporarily suspended its operations,” a written statement issued by the Foreign Ministry said on Feb. 16. It said the embassy will begin its operations after public order and security is provided and legitimate state authority is reached based on national dialogue and consensus.

The embassy suspended its operations after coordinating the safe return of the Turkish citizens who were in Yemen. Many Western countries, including the United States, France and Britain, as well as Saudi Arabia, closed their diplomatic missions in the capital because of the worsening situation last week.

The Turkish foreign minister issued Feb. 14 a new travel warning to Yemen for Turkish citizens and called on them to immediately leave the country. Hundreds of Turkish citizens have already left Yemen on scheduled flights by Turkish Airlines.

The United States, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the Netherlands have also closed their embassies and withdrawn staff because of security fears, the Agence France-Press reported.

Spain said it was temporarily suspending embassy activity in Yemen “in light of the current situation of insecurity and instability in Sanaa.”

The embassy had advised all Spanish citizens to “temporarily” leave Yemen, the Foreign Ministry said.

The Shiite group that has taken control of the capital, the Houthis, said Western powers had no reason to shut their embassies, insisting that security was solid in the capital.

Tehran also criticized the “hasty action” of closing the embassies, insisting the Houthis were fighting “corruption and terrorism.”