News / Europe

Turkey Backing Libyan Opposition

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) speaks to Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board of the Libyan National Transitional Congress Ali al-Issawi (L) before a news conference after their meeting in the rebel-held Benghazi, Libya, July 3, 2011
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) speaks to Vice-Chairman of the Executive Board of the Libyan National Transitional Congress Ali al-Issawi (L) before a news conference after their meeting in the rebel-held Benghazi, Libya, July 3, 2011
Dorian Jones

Marking a shift in its position, Turkey is putting its full weight behind the Libyan opposition, promising $200 million and calling for Libyan government leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi to go. A leader of the Libyan opposition is due to hold talks Wednesday in Ankara.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country has given its unequivocal support to the Libyan opposition Transitional National Council based in Benghazi. During a visit Sunday to Benghazi, the Turkish diplomat declared the Libyan opposition is the legitimate representative of the Libyan people and that Gadhafi should go.

Turkey had close ties with Gadhafi and was one of few counties arguing he could still play a role in resolving the Libyan conflict. Senior Turkish diplomat Selim Yenel said the shift in policy was not taken lightly.  

"We have been very cautious in our approach, we tried to keep a dialogue with both sides, although we were criticized for this," said Yenel.  "But in the end we saw that dialogue with Gadhafi became impossible. And we saw that the people in Benghazi were acting more and more responsible. So in the end we came up to finally accept this reality. And realize that the representation by the people in Benghazi."

Ankara is backing up its words of support to the Libyan opposition with $200 million, in addition to the $100 million it already has given.  Turkish officials say the funds are to help meet the day-to-day needs of the opposition.  

Ankara's strong support for the Libyan opposition brings it in line with its Western allies, according to Turkish diplomatic correspondent Semih Idiz. He said until now Turkey was following a more independent policy toward the region.

"The 'proactive' in Turkish foreign policy to the region is over," said Idiz. "Now we [are] in the stage of reaction, in other words, reacting to the emerging situation. I do not think Turkey can be a shaper and framer of processes on its own, and we see much more cooperation or more parallels between Turkey's position and Washington position."

The opposition leader responsible for foreign affairs for the Transitional National Council, Mahmud Jibril, is to hold talks with the Turkish and United Arab Emirates foreign ministers Wednesday in Ankara.

Carnegie Institute scholar Sinan Ulgen, who heads the Turkish foreign affairs research organization Edam, said now that Turkey is in line with its Western allies it can play an effective role.

"As a Muslim country and a member of NATO, Turkey will have a significant role to play," said Ulgen. "And already contributing not an insignificant amount of resources to the Libyan opposition, Turkey has demonstrated its willingness to remain engaged and to help the fate of the Libyan [people]. So yes, going forward Turkey will remain one of most instrumental actors within the West."

The upcoming talks are expected to include the opening of an opposition office in Turkey and preparations for a meeting of the so-called International Contact Group on Libya on July 15 and 16 in Istanbul. That meeting will focus on a post-Gadhafi Libya, in which Turkey has its own economic interests, according to Yenel.

"We are all thinking about what will happen after Gadhafi leaves power, how things could develop, so all issues will be on the table," said Yenel. "The economic consideration - interest and trade deals - will come next, it's not a primary concern, but it's a concern definitely.  Because we had about 25,000 workers [in Libya], eventually we hope they will go back, but it is a second consideration."

Observers say the reluctance of Ankara to completely sever ties was in part driven by the multi-billion-dollar contracts it has with the Libyan government. But now that Ankara has thrown its weight behind the Libya opposition, Turkey's banking authorities on Monday seized control of the Libyan-Turkish bank A&T in line with U.N. sanctions.

You May Like

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid