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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs