Turkish stance: Foreign military intervention in Libya is unacceptable

BY TAYYAR ARI

TODAY’S ZAMAN- It is certain that ongoing developments in Muslim, and specifically Arab, countries undermine the existing systems that have regimes which are alienated from the people they govern.

We all know that the current political picture in those countries is unacceptable and can no longer be sustained. In Tunisia and Egypt, rulers were more or less ousted through peaceful means, without foreign intervention or UN involvement, though certain countries have frozen the assets of the toppled leaders.

The Libyan case has brought the foreign military intervention option to the agenda of the international community. Some new sanctions have been imposed on Libya, including freezing some of the Libyan leader’s foreign assets, the closing down of borders, bringing those responsible for using violence against civilians before the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well as an arms embargo. But now some new options, including NATO involvement, are being argued for by Western countries, led by the United States, in order to rescue the Libyans from the devastation caused by the Gaddafi regime.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan has made it clear that foreign military intervention is not acceptable. He was particularly angered by the proposal to get NATO involved as well the placement of further sanctions on Libya, which might harm the Libyan people rather than the regime responsible for the current state of affairs. Turkey has consistently been against the employment of military options to solve problems and is very cautious about foreign intervention by any means. It is obvious that such interventions, implemented in Iraq and Afghanistan, have proven unsuccessful. These and other historical examples lead Turkey to be very cautious about such policies.

In Libya, Gaddafi has lost support in most of the country to opposition groups except in the capital city, Tripoli. Moreover, significant tribes and political figures have withdrawn their support for the colonel, including the Libyan ambassador to the UN and two ministers (justice and interior). Presumably, the fall of Gaddafi will happen very soon -- that is, within a couple of days. I believe the international community has expressed full solidarity in supporting the cause of Arabs obtaining better conditions in terms of human rights, freedom and democracy. However, supporting Arabs (and especially Libyans) for the sake of interests in oil and strategic assets would mean the humiliation of these people and also a double standard of Western countries in Arab eyes.

It is understandable that the assistance of the international community under the oversight of the United Nations is required for the Libyan people. New peaceful ways, including political and economic pressure placed on Gaddafi to deter him from using military power against civilians, could certainly be used. At the same time Libya should not be an example used by the international community to control leaders in power in Arab countries through intimidating them with similar methods (provoking people against them). Therefore, much interference would raise new suspicions about the public upheavals in those countries in light of the uprising so far. These discredited involvements might increase anti-Western sentiments in those countries and reduce the self-reliance of those people.

The response of the international community to Libya should satisfy the expectations of the Libyans and serve as an example of the support that other movements demanding a change toward democracy and the fair distribution of wealth among citizens can expect to receive. Also, it should not start a new process of colonization of those countries through exploiting their existing unfortunate conditions. The best and only acceptable way is to assist those countries in developing their own way of having better political conditions supported by their own people. The use of peaceful methods must be encouraged as much as possible without foreign intervention and intimidation.

Consequently, pro-colonial methods intended to be exercised in Libya should be opposed by the international community in order to not be a discouraging example for other Arab countries such as Yemen, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia as well as African and Asian countries, including Iran, in which similar opposition movements may take place.”

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