Expats in Turkey may be evacuated amid fears of second coup

Published:  25 Jul at 6 PM
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Fears that Turkish rebels may stage a second military coup have led to SAS troops preparing for the possible evacuation of British expat residents and tourists.

Rumours of a second military coup in troubled Turkey have resulted in evacuation plans involving many thousands of British residents as well as tourists. Should the government fall due to a second coup, civil war in the country is inevitable, according to defence chiefs.

SAS troop units are now established on Cyprus in order to rescue stranded Brits should the need arise. Emergency plans for a total evacuation are already in place, involving several units as well as Special Forces Support Group soldiers. Targeted areas for evacuation include tourist resorts and areas popular with British expats.

At present, around 50,000 British citizens are living in or visiting Turkey, with most located in the Mediterranean coastal region and the capital, Ankara. According to a senior UK defence source, Turkey is on the brink of civil war, with the trigger being a second attempt to overthrow the present government and its unpopular President Erdogan. Civil war in the already unstable region is likely to result in an international crisis involving Syria, Iraq and Iran, Turkey’s border countries.

Should the worst occur, a rescue operation will be launched from RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus, less than 100 miles from the Turkish capital of Ankara. Initially an airlift operation, the evacuation could also involve Royal Navy warships already in the Mediterranean. Expats are sharing their concerns online, mentioning the possible effects of the draconian clampdown by Erdogan on anyone connected, however remotely, with the failed coup as a trigger for civil war.

Residents in the Mediterranean town of Fethiye report an atmosphere of fear and concern amongst the expat community. One British expat who, with his family, emigrated some two years ago, is expecting a move towards a more authoritarian regime possibly including sweeping social changes.

After being advised by the Foreign Office to stay indoors, most expat residents now feel the resort is back to normal, and are determined not to be forced to leave their chosen country unless their lives depend on it. British diplomats and British forces, however, are determined to rescue even those who don’t want to go should the present situation become even uglier.
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