Turkey says arming Libya rebels could spawn terrorism

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected Thursday the idea of supplying arms to Libya's rebel fighters, saying that doing so could be "conducive to terrorism."

Speaking at a joint press conference in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Erdogan said he had a "negative" view on arming opposition forces battling Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

"Doing that would create a different situation in Libya and we do not find it appropriate to do that," Erdogan said.

"In our view this could also create an environment which would be conducive to terrorism and that in itself would be dangerous," he added.

"The fact that NATO is now involved was a step that was taken to overcome or solve the problems there and that's why we look favourably on the involvement of NATO.

"And it should be NATO which should take the measures to protect the civilians from cruelty."

World powers are debating whether to arm the rebels, with the United States, Britain and France all raising the possibility.

Turkey, the only Muslim-majority member of NATO, has only reluctantly backed the military alliance's takeover of the enforcement of a UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya and has criticised western-led air strikes.

The Turkish parliament last week approved the dispatch of a naval force to a NATO patrol mission in Libyan waters.

© 2011 AFP

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