The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent the Boeing 777 plane to evacuate Turkish people from Tunisia. The plane carrying 333 people including 8 babies, and 13 crew members took off from Tunis's Enfidha Airport by special permission as the Tunisia's air space was closed to traffic.
Nilufer Kaygısız, undersecretary of the Turkish Embassy in Tunis who was among the passengers, said after arriving in Istanbul, "there is chaos in Tunisia. Minutes before we departed from Tunisia, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi was dismissed. Under the Tunisian Constitution, Fouad Mebazaa, the former president of the lower house of parliament, became the interim president. Election will be held within 45-50 days. Then, presidential election will take place. But, protests and looting have been continuing in streets. I will stay in Turkey for a while. Later, I will return to Tunisia. I brought my children to Turkey."
Meanwhile, Turkish Ambassador to Tunisia Akin Algan said that there were about a thousand Turkish citizens living in Tunisia.
"We will help all Turkish citizens who want to return to Turkey. There are no immediate reports of casualties among Turkish citizens. Only, a Turkish citizen's gift shop was burnt down. He suffered a damage of nearly 200 thousand Tunisian dinar," he added.
Weeks of violent protests over unemployment, food price rises and corruption left dozens of people dead in Tunisia. The wave of rallies was sparked by the suicide of an unemployed college graduate, who torched himself last month after police confiscated his fruit cart, cutting off his source of income. Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali stepped down after 23 years in power and fled his country Friday for Saudi Arabia. Fouad Mebazaa, the former president of the lower house of parliament, was sworn in as the interim president ordering the country's first multiparty government to be formed.