News / Europe

Turkey Opposes Sanctions Against Libya, Contradicting its Western Allies

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (file photo)
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (file photo)
Dorian Jones

Pro-government forces in Libya are escalating their attacks on rebel forces. The increasing violence is fueling talk for tough sanctions and the enforcement of a no-fly zone against Libya and its leader, Moammar Gadhafi, both in the European Union and the United States. But Turkey, an EU applicant and NATO member, is voicing strong opposition to such moves.

Despite the increasing numbers of casualties in Libya, the Turkish government is robustly opposing sanctions and any kind of military intervention into the deepening the crisis, including a no-fly zone. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claims such intervention would be counterproductive.

He says his government does not think outside intervention would be right, based on recent developments. He says there is no such demand from within Libya nor from the active groups there.

Davutoglu says Turkey would enforce all U.N. sanctions against Libya, but that does not include any E.U. or U.S. measures.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Western countries calling for intervention of being motivated by Libya's huge oil reserves. But with the U.N. Security Council unanimously supporting sanctions against Libya, and the deepening crisis in Libya fueling growing calls for even tougher action, diplomatic correspondent Semih Idiz says Turkey is finding itself increasingly isolated.

"It seems to be rowing against (the) current,” Idiz said. “Erdogan was among the first to support the demonstrators in Egypt and call for democracy and all that, and call for Mubarak to go. But we do not see the same kind of approach in relation to Libya. Erdogan said he was strongly against sanctions (against) Libya and seems a little like leaning towards Gadhafi, even though the end of Gadhafi appears imminent."
Turkey's main opposition party has seized on the apparent inconsistency of the government towards Libya, and has accused the prime minister of having close ties with the beleaguered Libyan leader. But Turkish Ambassador Selim Yenel, deputy undersecretary for bilateral affairs and public diplomacy, argues the chaos in Libya means it is important to remain neutral.

"Who are we (to) decide is right or wrong, can we be that arrogant to decide that one of them is wrong or right,” Yenel said. “Right now, we have to take a different approach to Libya because the man is fighting (and) there could be more casualties. Taking sides or pushing for certain things could actually make things more harmful."

Yenel acknowledged that Turkey's business interests are a factor in determining its policy towards Libya. Chief economist Emre Yigit, of the Turkish trading house Global Securities, says such interests are considerable.

"We do a fair amount of construction and contracting between $10- and $15 billion, so Turkish construction companies are exposed and the workers and so on, and there is a knock-on effect on the rest of the economy," said Yigit.

Observers warn that with Ankara already at odds with both the European Union and the United States over Iranian sanctions, its stance on Libya can only add to growing concerns about its reliability as an ally. But diplomatic correspondent Idiz says Turkey's strong economic and political relations with Libya and the wider region mean it is better placed than its Western allies to play a role in resolving the crisis.

"Well, Turkey has bridges to these people and these nations they do not have,” Idiz added. “Turkey can say things to these countries that other people can not. And, therefore, given that Turkey's special relationship, the fact that it is an Islamic country. So I think Turkey is in (a) unique position here, and I think the West itself does not really know what to do."

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has said it is willing to mediate if all sides ask. But for now, observers say Ankara's stance on Libya is likely to be seen as another example of its being out of line with its Western allies.

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid