News / Middle East

Turkey Steps Up to Mediate in Libya Crisis

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan presses for NATO to have sole control over all military operations in Libya during a conference at his office in Istanbul, March 24, 2011
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan presses for NATO to have sole control over all military operations in Libya during a conference at his office in Istanbul, March 24, 2011
Dorian Jones

Turkey is positioning itself as a mediator in the ongoing conflict in Libya.

With fighting continuing to escalate in Libya, Turkey is intensifying its efforts to find a political solution to the conflict. It is one of the few countries that still has both its embassy open in the Libyan capital Tripoli and a consul functioning in Benghazi - the center of the rebel opposition.

Senior Turkish diplomat Selim Yenel said a political solution is crucial for Libya. "Turkey is now talking to both sides, and we believe one of the few countries that can to talk to both sides. In the end it's the only way out, otherwise more and more military actions will push people into a corner and you have to show a way out. And we believe a diplomatic solution is a way out. "

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has had good relations with the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, and until recently had strongly opposed military intervention and, in particular, NATO's involvement. But, Erdogan has since changed his stance now supporting NATO and calling for Gadhafi to stand down.

Though such inconsistencies may cast suspicions on Turkey's objectivity, diplomatic correspondent Semih Idiz said Turkey is in a unique position to mediate.

"It is a fact Turkey does have unique characteristics stemming from the fact that its an Islamic country, that it is a NATO member, so yes, such a thing could be possible," said Idiz. "But, of course, if you are willing to be a mediator its not up to you, it's up to the people you going to mediate between, to accept you."

International relations expert Cengiz Aktar of Istanbul's Bahcesehir University said any mediation will be difficult, but the bigger question is what is next if Gadhafi falls?

"There is no structured opposition in Libya, there is no structure even in Libya. This is a big problem once Gadhafi is ousted. What will happen no one really knows. So this is a recipe for chaos," said Aktar.

Both the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul have warned that Libya could become another Iraq or Afghanistan. The two leaders also strongly criticized France for its robust support of airstrikes.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Yenel said France's rush to arms ruined any chance of a political solution.

"We were in contact with both sides. Our prime minister had spoken to Gadhafi three times. But unfortunately military strikes came too soon. Unfortunately, the French did not coordinate with us in any way. If they had done so, we could have used the military threats to provoke Gadhafi to come to a political solution."

France claims not acting swiftly would have resulted in a bloodbath in Libya. Differences between France and Turkey over Libya are expected  to re-emerge again in Tuesday's London summit on Libya, where Turkey is expected to press for more emphasis on diplomacy and for an easing of airstrikes against Gadhafi forces. This is a stance Paris is predicted to strongly oppose.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs