No foreign boots on Libya's ground, warns Turkish FM
ISTANBUL / ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News | 3/2/2011 12:00:00 AM |
With Turkey remaining in an outlying position for its stance on the turmoil in Libya, a division has also emerged between the government and the main opposition.
With Turkey remaining in an outlying position internationally for its stance on how the world should respond to the turmoil in Libya, a division in views has also emerged between the government and the main opposition.
An external intervention in Libya would make the situation in the North African country worse, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters in Istanbul, emphasizing Turkey’s opposition to such a move.
According to Davutoğlu, even the protesters fighting to topple the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi would oppose any kind of external military intervention.
The head of Turkey’s main opposition, however, said Tuesday that he would support an intervention in Libya if both the international community and the Libyan people call for it.
“In the 21st century no one can sit back and watch as people are murdered,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, told journalists on the second day of his visit to London. “It’s too early to say if there should be an intervention or not. I do not find outside interference in any country right, but would support an intervention for Libya under the condition that the international sentiment coincides with the Libyan people’s demands.”
Commenting on the ongoing turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East, Davutoğlu said the region is in a process of transformation that Turkey supports happening in a peaceful way, “without cutting up the public authority, without causing big casualties and with respect from everyone for the demands of the public.”
“Outside actors that stand against this natural process will lose one way or another,” the foreign minister said, calling what the world is witnessing in the region a “political earthquake.”
“What we see in the Middle East today are not temporary incidents; these are events that trigger each other, and there will be aftershocks as well,” Davutoğlu said.
[HH] Parallels with Eastern Europe
Asked about speculation that the regional turmoil is part of a “Greater Middle East Project,” the Turkish prime minister said that would not be a correct way to evaluate the situation. “I believe this is a natural process. If we do not believe that this is not a natural process, then we would be disrespectful to the Arab nations,” he said. “The transformation in the Middle East is as natural and honorable as the transformation process in Eastern Europe in the 1990s.”
Responding to criticisms of the Turkish government’s divergent reactions on the crises in Egypt and Libya, Davutoğlu said the outcome of every step must be calculated before reacting to anything. “We receive a lot of information from different channels in Libya every day, so we have to think about the possible results of the reactions before we make any statement,” he said.
A senior Foreign Ministry diplomat meanwhile said that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s previous objection to sanctions was about “sanctions that would directly harm the Libyan people.” The diplomat said Erdoğan’s objection was made before the U.N. Security Council decided to impose sanctions, and that the ones the council voted on do not appear that they will have a direct impact on the Libyan people.
[HH] Gül criticizes support for regimes
Addressing the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, Turkey’s president indirectly criticized countries that had supported authoritarian regimes in the region in the interest of protecting stability and said that Turkey was following its principles throughout the uprisings. “You see how some countries made zigzags through this process. Before these processes started, you see how they sacrificed democracy and supported regimes that were standing against their people,” President Abdullah Gül told reporters Wednesday.
Libya should have seen the realities of the new world, Gül said, adding that young people were leading the process. “All we want is for these processes to conclude without bloodshed and without signs of civil war,” he said.
Responding to Prime Minister’s Erdoğan’s dismissal of a NATO role in Libya, the main opposition chief said: “I would not question NATO being in Libya like the prime minister [did]. If such a situation arises, the foreign minister should evaluate the situation and brief the prime minister.”
“The prime minister stated that he does not support interfering with Libya. We will see if he backs down on this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
In his comments in London, the CHP chief also mentioned Turkey’s internal problem of terrorism, and the announcement by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, of an end to its unilateral cease-fire.
“Government authorities are the ones who conducted the meetings. I do not know the details so I cannot comment. But it is our wish for terror to end in Turkey. If the PKK decides to pick up its guns, the prime minister will presumably announce to the public the reason behind this disagreement,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
İpek Yezdani from Istanbul contributed to this report.