Two Turkish citizens kidnapped in Libya
Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
Former rebel fighters who are now intergrated into the Libyan army and form the Diraa al-Gharbiya brigade, are seen with their weapons guarding the western entrance of the capital Tripoli on May 19. AFP PhotoTwo Turkish citizens were kidnapped in Libya late on June 24 and their whereabouts are still unknown, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official who wanted to remain anonymous has said.
Nazım Süpürgeci and Emrah Bahçeci, working for the Summa Construction Company, were kidnapped in Tripoli after they left a camp for company workers. Turkish officials are in contact with the local administration in Tripoli to secure their return.
The Foreign Ministry advised against non-essential travel to Libya in May, as the security situation in the country remains unpredictable. The ministry advised Turkish citizens to avoid traveling to Benghazi and Tripoli in particular due to increasingly intense armed clashes.
Hundreds of Turks left Libya after a call from a renegade Libyan general for Turks and Qataris to leave the country’s east within two days earlier this week. The spokesman for renegade Libyan general Khalifa Hafter told reporters in Benghazi on June 22 that citizens of Turkey and Qatar had “48 hours to leave,” warning that “measures would be taken” against those discovered after the ultimatum, which he said started on Saturday, June 21.
“Those carrying Turkish or Qatari citizenship must leave the area between the Imsaid crossing [on the Egyptian border] and the city of Sirte [in central Libya] within 48 hours,” Col. Mohammed Hegazy said. “We will not be responsible for any backlash against them from the public if they are still present in these areas after that.”
Hegazy said the public was “angered” at the policies of Turkey and Qatar and accused the two countries of “sending spies” to eastern Libya.
Ankara closed its consulate in Benghazi earlier this month and warned its citizens against traveling there because of the deteriorating security situation.