Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Libya: Turkish Leader Demands Gadafi Step Down Highly Significant
From Denny: The entire planet is aware Turkey is a key player in the Muslim world. Turkey has encouraged the many recent democracy movements sweeping rapidly throughout the Arab world. Up until now, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has resisted handing over the public gift of full support to the rebel revolt in Libya.
Now, times have changed. Erdogan says it's time for Moammar Gadafi to go. Mark this day on your calendar for Turkey decisively turned against the Libyan leader. Erdogan urged Gadafi to step down from power - immediately. Erdogan says the Libyan people have changed, in so many words saying the people have outgrown the stagnant toxic 41-year-old dictatorship of Gadafi.
From Erdogan: "We wish that the Libyan leader pulls out from Libya and cedes power immediately, for himself and for the future of his country, without causing more bloodshed, tears and destruction. A person on whom everybody will agree should come in to rule in Libya in order to restore peace and stability in the country."
Turkey is considered the regional power broker. Erdogan's strong support of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt helped topple the rulers. In fact, it was Erdogan who bald-faced told Egypt's Hosni Mubarak to leave office.
But, for some reason not stated, Erdogan held back on strong support for the uprisings in Libya and Syria. In these two incidences of Gadafi in Libya and Bashar Assad in Syria it was Erdogan who called for reforms and reconciliation.
Considering that Assad has been found to be torturing children I doubt anyone will be successful in calling back the cries of revenge from hurting parents. Too much has happened in the recent brutal crackdowns for reconciliation to occur in Syria. As it was, Assad's father put down another uprising decades ago, killing 40,000 people. Those kinds of brutality are not easily forgiven nor forgotten for generations.
Turkey has often complained about and questioned the United Nations Security Council - and authorized Western-led - military effort to protect Libyan civilians. He did not like the establishment of a No-Fly Zone.
Erdogan has been experiencing domestic political pressure to reverse course on his criticism because of the mounting death counts in Syria and Libya. Even his own Justice and Development Party advises him to straighten out his many foreign policy inconsistencies. Erdogan is also under public scrutiny for when he vacationed with Syria's Assad family last year.
The political reality for Erdogan's party is that crucial general elections are arriving in just six short weeks. His moderate, Islamist-rooted political party is considered the favorite winner. It is predicted to take about 48.7 percent of the vote. Four years ago the party took 46.6 percent of the vote. (from Turkish newspaper "Sabah")
This sudden shift in position from Turkey is highly significant. Remember it was originally the Ottoman Empire, now the new Turkey, that once ruled Libya for centuries. Erdogan's comments came a day after Turkey shut down its embassy in Tripoli, the Libyan capital. This new attitude toward Gadafi will resonate strongly throughout Gadafi's inner circle, causing rifts and uncertainty.
The perception of Turkey making this very public announcement is that they are furious with Gadafi's brutal regime, continuing to bombard rebel held cities, killing hundreds of civilians. Yet all the while Gadafi publicly maintains he is abiding by the cease-fire agreement. No one respects a weasel whose word cannot be trusted.
This statement from Prime Minister Erdogan sure sounds like frustration: "Gadafi preferred to shed blood instead of heeding our calls. We are done talking in Libya."
The whole world is tired of Gadafi. We hear you, Mr. Erdogan. Terrorists and dictatorships need no longer apply for leader of any country in the world.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, photo by Osman Orsal/Reuters
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