The soccer stadium in the Libyan city of Benghazi has become a safe haven for thousands of Turks seeking to flee the Libyan regime’s brutal attempts to put down a popular revolt seeking to oust Col. Moammar Gadaffi from power. Turks in the stadium said they could hear fire fights and explosions in the distance. They said children in Libya’s second largest city as young as 15 were armed with automatic Kalashnikov guns. Turkey's foreign trade minister Kursad Tuzman said looters had attacked Turkish companies, which have projects in Libya worth more than $15 billion, and officials estimated there were 25,000 Turks working there. Some 600 Turks were evacuated from Benghazi over the weekend and another 250 were said to be travelling by bus to neighbouring Egypt. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who has made forging closer diplomatic and economic ties with the Middle East and the Arab world a priority, said four planes and two ships were being sent to Libya to evacuate stranded citizens. He said Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone to Gaddafi, who last November presented Erdogan with the Gaddafi Prize for Human Rights – a prize Erdogan may well regret having accepted.
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