Turkey has evacuated almost 15,000 citizens from Ukraine: FM

Turkey has evacuated almost 15,000 citizens from Ukraine: FM

Turkey has evacuated almost 15,000 citizens from Ukraine: FM

Turkey has evacuated more than 14,800 of its citizens from Ukraine since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on March 15, noting that Ankara expects to bring the Turks trapped in Mariupol city soon after talks with Moscow and Kiev.

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called me {by phone] at midnight. The conditions for the evacuations are emerging gradually. Today, tomorrow we can get the good news,” he said, speaking at a joint press conference with Kandia Camara, the foreign Minister of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire.

“Yesterday, we also made the follow-up of the face-to-face meeting of March 10 with both ministers,” Çavuşoğlu said, referring to his phone conversations with Russian and Ukrainian ministers on March 14.

There are nearly 300-350 more Turkish citizens, and more than 100 of them are in Mariupol city, Çavuşoğlu said. The minister noted Turkey received information about the citizens stuck in the mosque in Mariupol and continues efforts for their safe exit.

“We also learned that our citizens do not have a shortage of food and drink in the mosque,” he said. Turkey is expecting two buses to depart from Lviv - one will carry the Crimean Tatar Turks- and another bus to depart from Odesa, he said.

Ankara continues it is demarche without interruption for a permanent ceasefire and sustainability in Ukraine, the minister emphasized.

Turkish Defense Ministry officials also said they hoped the evacuations from Mariupol would begin soon, following a “security evaluation’’ by Russian authorities.

The mines on roads were cleared by Russia, and the efforts for the opening of humanitarian corridors and the entrance of buses and trucks to Mariupol continue for evacuation of the citizens, sources from the Turkish Defense Ministry said on March 15 on the condition of anonymity.

A group of Turkish citizens and their relatives have taken shelter in the Suleiman Mosque in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

Speaking to daily Hürriyet over the phone about the situation, İsmail Hacıoğlu, the head of the Suleiman Mosque Association in Mariupol, earlier said there are 86 people in the city, which is besieged by Russia and witnessing constant shelling, waiting to be evacuated by Turkey.

“Around 30 of these people are in the mosque, while others are waiting at home,” Hacıoğlu said. “They are not all Turkish citizens; the group includes 34 children and wives and mothers-in-law of Turkish citizens.”

“An explosion occurred around 700 meters away from the mosque, but it was not directly hit,” he said.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Çavuşoğlu held several phone calls with their Russian and Ukrainian counterparts for the safe evacuation of Turks in the besieged city.