Turkey’s U-turn over Libya: a new Ottomanism?

Ankara’s weeks-long attempts to convince Gadhafi to accept a political solution did not bear any fruit. The dialogue with Tripoli was broken off once Turkey rallied behind the NATO-led military operation, while the hesitant approach toward Benghazi created huge frustration among the Libyan rebels.

In a U-turn triggered by concerns that it would be excluded from shaping a post-Gadhafi Libya, Turkey recognized Benghazi and said it would give $300 million in support for the National Transitional Council.

Turkish officials say the closer engagement with Benghazi aims at reaching peace and stability in Libya and that economic interest are only a secondary issue. Senior diplomat Selim Yenel dismisses claims that Turkey and some Western powers are competing on the future of the country and its economic resources.

“Turkey is pursuing a more active foreign policy. But it would be wrong to describe it as neo-Ottomanism. We never have had such a dream,” Ambassador Yenel told Deutsche Welle. “We are not in competition with anybody. We really want to see stability in Libya. What is important is the end of military conflict, Libya gaining stability and prosperity.”

via Turkey’s U-turn over Libya | World | Deutsche Welle | 14.07.2011.

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