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Turkey's position on Libya

Military Intervention:

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had spoken during the Leaders of Change Summit in Istanbul March 14, 2011 and held out against growing international calls to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, saying such operation would be unhelpful and fraught with risk.

Military intervention by NATO in Libya or any other country would be totally counter-productive,” Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, had told an international forum in Istanbul, adding “In addition to being counter-productive, such an operation could have dangerous consequences.

We are opposed to foreign intervention because Libyans are against it,” followed Davutoglu.


Davutoglu also clarified his government’s position on international sanctions on Libya, saying Turkey is opposed to those sanctions that could result in the punishment of the Libyan people, who are already facing enough hardships.

Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent remarks rejecting sanctions against Libya have raised questions over the Turkish position towards sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. “Libyans who face starvation and death will face more difficulties and desperation in the event of sanctions,” Erdogan said, complaining that the Middle East and Africa have been viewed by the West merely as sources of oil and used as pawns in oil wars for decades. “People take to the streets because they are fed up with being used as pawns in oil wars,” he said.

But Davutoglu said that Turkey was ready to make any contribution to ensure the implementation of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. On Wednesday, he confirmed that Turkey’s opposition was only to sanctions that could hurt the Libyan people and added that Erdogan’s remarks were made before the Security Council unanimously approved the sanctions on Saturday.

Negotiating with the Benghazi Interim Council:

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met Friday Nasir Al Mani, a member of the interim administration formed in Benghazi after the popular Libya uprising against Col. Gaddafi.

Al Mani is a member for foreign affairs and international contact group in the interim council in Benghazi. Davutoglu and Al Mani exchanged views on ways to stop bloodshed and implementation of ceasefire recently declared by Libya, diplomats said.

Al Mani has been in talks with Turkish officials in Ankara since March 17th, Thursday, diplomats added.

We were welcomed by Turkey,” Nasir al Mani told reporters after an appearance on Al Jazeera in Ankara. Al Mani said he had meetings with Turkish offials, including Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, at the invitation of Turkish government and informed them about the current situation in Libya and the ordeal faced by Libyan people in eastern and western parts of the country.

We saw Turkey’s will to help Libyan people. Talks are still under way. I hope we can find a practical solution at the end of these talks and we can see positive steps for a solution to tragedy in Libya,” he said.

Turkey is evaluating a Libyan request to monitor a ceasefire Tripoli has declared in its battle with rebels fighting to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, news channel NTV reported today. Libya’s request has been transmitted to Turkey and Ankara is looking into it, Davutoglu said, NTV reported.

Libya asked Turkey, Malta and China to send observers to oversee the ceasefire announced today by the regime, AFP said. However, in a statement this evening, the Maltese government denied it had been asked to oversee and implement the ceasefire. “We are in contact with Turkey, Malta and China and we asked them to send observers to oversee the ceasefire, ” an official Libyan source earlier said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Libya (Trablusgarp) is a region of specific importance for Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who, in 1911 as a young Ottoman army officer, was assigned there to organize irregular forces in the defense against the Italian invasion. He had successfully defended Tobruk and on 6 March 1912 was made the commander of the region around the Libyan city of Darnah, before being recalled back to Istanbul.

Turkey's position on Libya



Akin Unver

Dr. Ünver is an assistant professor of international relations at Kadir Has University, Istanbul.

Previously he was the Ertegün Lecturer of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies department - the only academic to retain this prestigious fellowship for two consecutive years. He conducted his joint post-doctoral studies at the University of Michigan’s Center for European Studies and the Center for the Middle East and North African Studies, where he authored several articles on Turkish politics, most notable of which is ”Turkey’s deep-state and the Ergenekon conundrum”, published by the Middle East Institute.

Born and raised in Ankara, Turkey, he graduated from T.E.D. Ankara College in 1999 and earned his B.A. in International Relations from Bilkent University (2003) and MSc in European Studies from the Middle East Technical University (2005). He received his PhD from the Department of Government, University of Essex, where his dissertation, ‘A comparative analysis of the discourses on the Kurdish question in the European Parliament, US Congress and Turkish National Assembly‘ has won the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) 2010 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in Social Sciences.

Akın also assumed entry-level policy positions at the European Union Secretariat-General, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eurasian Center for Strategic Studies (ASAM) and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (D.C.), as well as teaching positions at the University of Essex (Theories of International Relations) and Sabancı University (Turkey and the Middle East).

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