ANKARA, May 23 (Xinhua) — Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday the Libyan opposition National Transitional Council (NTC) is legitimate but that a change of political system in the country must be peaceful.
Turkey saw the NTC as a legitimate and recognized representative of Libyan people, Davutoglu told a joint press conference with visiting NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil in Ankara.
He said there was a need for a political system in line with Libyan people’s legitimate demands but transition to such a system should be made through peaceful means.
One of Turkey’s priorities is to protect Libya’s territorial integrity and maintain the country’s political unity, he noted.
Jalil said he supports a road map proposed by Turkey to end the Libyan crisis and has understood Turkey’s stance against bloodshed since the beginning.
“We support Turkey’s plan that symbolizes and solidifies the needs of the Libyan people, which include removing Gaddafi from the country,” he said.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan proposed a road map in April to end the war in Libya which would include a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces from besieged cities and democracy to be established as soon as possible.
The only Islamic country in NATO, Turkey has repeatedly voiced its opposition since West-led air strikes began. However, after days of negotiation, all NATO member states, including Turkey, agreed to take over command of the military operations against Libya.
Turkey has conducted large-scale humanitarian relief efforts in Libya but drew criticisms from Libyan opposition due to Ankara’s objection to arming Libyan rebels. The opposition blamed Turkey for restricting NATO operations against Gaddafi administration.
Earlier this month Ankara toughened its tone as Erdogan urged Gaddafi to immediately cede power.
Turkey has tried all diplomatic ways to settle the Libyan crisis but supports the UN resolutions on setting up a no-fly zone and protecting civilians because of continuing violence against civilians in Libya, said Davutoglu.
Jalil arrived in Ankara on Monday and held talks with Davutoglu, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul.
Davutoglu said he and Jalil had discussed the humanitarian situation in Libya, particularly the situation of refugees in Tunisia and reconstruction of hospitals and schools.