Turkey embassy in Tripoli evacuated
Turkey has temporarily closed its Tripoli embassy for security reasons, a move that seemed to indicate a change in Ankara’s approach to the Libyan crisis as it loses a key channel of communication with Tripoli and Benghazi. The closure came following attacks on British and Italian diplomatic missions in the Libyan capital over the weekend after a NATO airstrike killed relatives of Col. Moammar Gadhafi. “Due to the change in the security situation in Libya and the great security risk it poses, our embassy has stopped functioning temporarily and has been evacuated,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters Monday. The decision was made late Sunday and Ambassador Levent Şahinkaya and the embassy staff had arrived in Tunisia on Monday morning, he said. “Of course, this does not mean that Turkey’s efforts [to solve the turmoil in Libya] will be halted,” Davutoğlu added. Turkey’s decision to shut down its embassy came following an increase in attacks by angry crowds after a NATO operation Saturday allegedly attempted to assassinate Col. Gadhafi, instead killing one of his sons and three grandchildren. The closure of the embassy in Tripoli in the wake of the NATO airstrike could push Turkey to revise its policy toward the Libyan crisis. Erdoğan will likely give the first clues on any shift in the position Tuesday or Wednesday, messages that will be transmitted to the Western powers by Davutoğlu on Wednesday in Rome, where he will likely hold a bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.