Turkish PM says Paris is sidelined in Libya

25th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday Paris was sidelined in Libya after NATO took over the command, which was a "positive" development, Anatolia news agency reported.

"Paris has started to be sidelined. I found this pretty positive especially for the current process in Libya," Erdogan told reporters in response to questions on Libya, Anatolia reported.

France's leadership in the UN-mandated air campaign in support of Libyan civilians and its failure to invite Turkey to last Saturday's Paris summit on Libya that preceded the raids had irked Ankara.

This further soured bilateral ties, already strained over President Nicolas Sarkozy's vocal opposition to Turkey's EU membership bid.

Turkey's parliament Thursday approved sending a naval force off Libya as the Islamist-rooted government moved reluctantly to join military action in the conflict-torn country despite anger at Western-led air raids.

Erdogan said NATO also agreed with Turkey's concerns that NATO should not intervene in the situation on its own but have the Arab League and African Union on its side, Anatolia reported.

Turkey, NATO's sole predominantly Muslim member and a key regional player, has slammed the air strikes on Libya, led by France, Britain and the United States, ruling out any combat mission and vowing to "never point a gun at the Libyan people".

© 2011 AFP

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