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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.