Gadhafi regime ends as Turkey gives Libya NATO’s vow

Turkey will side with Libya’s National Transitional Council completely, says Turkey’s foreign minister, adding that NATO will remain in the country for its safety

Turkey will support the new Libyan administration in the strongest sense of the term, stressing the need for reconstruction in the country, and NATO will remain in Libya until security is fully restored, said Turkey’s foreign minister, who became the first international leader to visit Benghazi following the defeat of Moammar Gadhafi.

“I repeat once again: Turkey will be on the side of Libya, the National Transitional Council [NTC] and (Mustafa) Abdul-Jalil with all of our means,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters in a joint press conference with opposition leader Abdul-Jalil. Davutoğlu headed to Benghazi from Ethiopia early Tuesday, ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Istanbul. The Istanbul meeting will be a preparatory session for the contact group’s gathering in Paris next week at the level of foreign ministers.

NATO to remain in Libya

Before arriving in Benghazi, Davutoğlu held a number of phone conversations with his interlocutors, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe. “We have talked about the economic issues and military situation, and wanted to have discussions here before the Libyan Contact Group meeting in Turkey,” he said. Extraordinary security measures were visible during Davutoğlu’s talks in Benghazi. “I hope to continue my monthly visits to Benghazi,” said Davutoğlu adding, “The belief in the success of the Libyan revolution is more absolute following the success in military operations. Libya is passing through historical times.” According to Davutoğlu, the three priorities of the new administration are building a democratic and free Libya; protecting the unity of Libya as a respectful member of the international community; and reconstructing the country as a whole.

Although opposition forces can beat Gadhafi’s troops in Tripoli, NATO will not cease operations, Davutoğlu said. “What is important is the protection of territorial integrity and the stability of Libya,” he said. NATO said Tuesday the situation in the Libyan capital of Tripoli remained very dangerous and the alliance would continue its operations in the country, the AP reported.

Turkey, so far, pledged $300 million in aid to the Libyan opposition, which is in need of cash to pay salaries and supply food. More than $100 million of aid was given in cash to Abdul-Jalil on Tuesday along with $100 million in aid for projects and $100 million in donations through humanitarian materials.

[Source: By Sevil Küçükkoşum, Benghazi, Hurriyet Daily News, Ankara, 23Aug11]

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