ANKARA

Turkey expressed “deep concern and sorrow” over the Mali president’s forced resignation as a result of a military coup Tuesday. 

Ankara stresses re-establishment of an atmosphere of internal peace, security and stability in Mali and an immediate release of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and other senior officials as well as return to constitutional order as soon as possible, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It was emphasized in the statement that Turkey supports the efforts of the UN, African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for this purpose.

Turkey will continue to stand by friendly and brotherly Mali in this difficult period, the statement noted.

On Tuesday, Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were taken to the Kati military camp located 15 kilometers (9 miles) northwest of the capital Bamako at around 4.30 p.m. local time (1630 GMT), according to Le Journal du Mali.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that gunshots were heard at the camp, while military trucks were also spotted on the road leading toward the capital. The military reportedly blocked the road from the town of Kati to Bamako and businesses and offices were also closed.

Last month, the head of the African Union Commission urged calm and continued dialogue to preserve peace, stability and social cohesion in Mali.

Tensions erupted in Mali in 2012 following a failed coup and a rebellion by Tuareg separatists that ultimately allowed al-Qaeda-linked militant groups to take over the northern half of the country.

Keita, 75, came to power in 2013 but has been criticized by people who say he has failed to protect them from terrorist attacks mostly in the northern and central part of the country.

Mali, one of the poorest countries in the world, suffers from the presence of several terror groups, despite the French, Malian, and UN peacekeepers who carry out counter-terrorism operations there.

A 2015 peace agreement between the Malian government and Tuareg rebel groups could not be implemented.

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