* Turkish projects in Libya worth more than $15 bln
* Some 25,000 Turks in Libya, evacuation plans underway
ANKARA, Feb 21 Looters have attacked Turkish
companies in Libya where they have projects worth more than $15
billion, Turkey's foreign trade minister said on Monday, as
hundreds of Turks were evacuated from the country.
Violent unrest against Libya's Muammar Gaddafi has spread to
the capital Tripoli and his son has vowed to fight until the
"last man standing" after scores of protesters were killed in
the east of the country. [ID:nLDE71J05Y]
"At the raided building sites there have only been attacks
on property. Nothing has been done to Turkish citizens," State
Minister Zafer Caglayan said at a meeting with foreign ministry
and business officials to discuss the situation in Libya.
He said companies would be compensated for their damage.
"Our foremost expectation and demand is that the safety of
our citizens will be ensured. Libyan officials have been warned
at every level," he added.
A total 581 Turkish citizens were evacuated over the weekend
from Benghazi in the east of the country, where many Turkish
firms were active. Two planes on Saturday brought 293 Turks from
Benghazi and another 288 came on Sunday.
Turkish broadcaster NTV said another four planes and two
ships were being sent to Libya on Monday and that Turks could
possibly be evacuated via Egypt.
However, media reports on Monday said one Turkish Airlines
plane had been unable to land amid claims that opposition
protesters had taken control of the airport in Benghazi. Those
reports could not be confirmed.
Turkish companies, mostly construction firms, have some
$15.3 billion worth of projects in Libya, Caglayan said. Some
200 Turkish construction firms are active there, including
Tekfen Holding (TKFEN.IS) and TAV Construction.
Trade volume between the two countries amounted to around
$2.4 billion last year.
"People are not safe in Libya. Opponents and supporters of
the government are clashing in the street," Bilge Durukan, a
construction company project manager, was quoted as saying by
Turkey's state-run Anatolian news agency on his arrival at
Passenger Dilek Angin said workers in Libya had taken
construction machinery, vehicles and electronic goods from their
worksites in the belief that they would not be paid.
(Reporting by Pinar Aydinli, writing by Daren Butler; Editing
by Simon Cameron-Moore)