Seven Turks held in Libya for almost two years return home

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Seven Turkish citizens held in eastern Libya for almost two years were released and returned home after intense diplomacy, Agence France-Presse reported on Sunday, citing the Turkish foreign ministry.

The Turks were released after joint efforts between Turkey and its regional ally Qatar, the ministry said in a statement. Turkish media said most of them worked in the restaurant business.

The North African country has been mired in civil war and strife since the overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a 2011 uprising.

The bloodshed has drawn in competing Libyan factions and Islamist groups as well as foreign powers.

Turkey has sent troops as well as pro-Turkish militia units from Syria to shore up the UN-recognized government in Tripoli, while Russia and other countries support eastern-based strongman Khalifa Haftar.

In 2019, Turkish officials said the Turks were detained by eastern Libya forces loyal to Haftar.

“The situation of our citizens were closely monitored during this process by our embassy in Tripoli and the National Intelligence Organization,” the foreign ministry said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also placed telephone calls to the citizens who returned home, it added.

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