Pakistani peacekeeping forces rescue Turkish envoy, businessman in Ivory Coast

ANKARA: Pakistani peacekeeping forces rescued the Turkish ambassador to Abidjan, who had become trapped in Ivory Coast amid the ongoing turmoil there.According to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet,clashes around the hotel district in Abidjan trapped Ambassador Yal‡in Kaya Erensoy in the embassy building, part of a hotel compound,and stranded a Turkish business leader in his hotel in a separate location.The businessman, who was already in poor health, was rescued by the Pakistani forces, which are serving under a U.N. mandate, in the early hours of Tuesday.The Turkish Foreign Ministry took the initiative at the level of the United Nations in New York, as well as with the Pakistani Embassy in Ankara, to rescue Ambassador Erensoy and the businessman identified as Ali Ates because Turkey does not have a peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast.

“The ambassador was trapped when the clashes escalated,” a well-informed source said. The Turkish request to rescue the stranded Turks was conveyed to the Pakistani forces by the Pakistani Embassy in Ankara.The rescue coincided with a visit to Turkey by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who arrived in Ankara late Monday and met Wednesday with President Abdullah Gul. The Turkish President thanked his counterpart during the meeting for Pakistan’s quick response to the crisis.Turkish officials said the Pakistani move was a clear sign of the strong relationship and brotherly solidarity between the two countries. Turkey was one of the first countries to extend help to Pakistan during the catastrophic floods there last summer.Sources said the ambassador was currently in Abidjan and was secure, adding that the businessman was also secure and was likely receiving treatment. – APP