TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER ARRIVES IN TUNISIA
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu arrived in Tunisia on Monday.
Davutoglu visited Tunisia as rotating president of Council of Europe Ministers Committee. Davutoglu and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland will meet government officials of Tunisia.
Turkish foreign minister and Jagland are expected to hold a joint news conference.
TURKEY URGES LIBYA TO AVOID VIOLENCE, RESPECT PEOPLE'S DEMANDS
Turkey warned the Libyan administration Monday to avoid any violence, respect their people's fair demands and accomplish political transformation without instability.
"Our prime minister and our government made the Turkish perspective very clear regarding the developments in the region: Avoid any violence, respect the demands of the people and, at the same time, accomplish political transformation without damaging stability," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said at a news conference late Monday.
He spoke after meeting Tunisia's new foreign minister, around 10 political party representatives and members of civil society groups.
In Tunisia, the foreign minister faced a barrage of questions regarding the developments in Libya. Asked about the Turkish government's message to the Libyan administration, Davutoğlu said: "We cannot sacrifice security for freedom or freedom for security. Libya needs to avoid violence and the loss of life and to establish public order to prevent these types of clashes and the escalation of tension."
But Davutoğlu emphasized that the future of Libya would be determined by the people of Libya.
"This is the message we send to the region," he said. "Turkey will always show solidarity with all the brotherly countries and people in this region to maintain a stable, democratic political atmosphere."
In a speech Sunday, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, said his father and security forces would not leave the country in the control of the Italians and the Turks.
Davutoğlu said he listened to the speech in Arabic and considered the remark to be a "slip of the tongue."
"I listened to the whole speech. He used an expression that stems from a misperception," Davutoğlu said, adding that there was nothing negative about Turkey in the speech.
"Turkey always considers Libya as a friendly and brotherly country. I see this expression as a slip of the tongue or a misperception," Davutoğlu said.
ERDOGAN AND GADDAFI TALK BY PHONE CONVERSATION
Libya's leader Colonel Moammar Gaddafi told Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Turkish citizens' problems [in Libya] would be solved. Officials said that Premier Erdogan and leader Gaddafi had a phone conversation on Sunday and they discussed situation of Turkish citizens living in Libya.
Gaddafi told Erdogan that Turkish citizen's problems would be solved.
Turkey has launched efforts to evacuate its citizens from Libya, [Turkish] authorities earlier said.
Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is launching several initiatives for safety of Turkish citizens in Libya and their evacuation as unrest swept the north African country.
The Ministry proposed that Turkish citizens could proceed to Egypt from Libyan city of Tobruk by land and that they could be evacuated from Egypt by plane.
Hundreds of people have been killed in Libya since protests broke out a week ago. In the capital, Tripoli, and cities of Benghazi, Bayda and Tobruk, people took to the streets to demonstrate against Gaddafi's 42-year reign.
THOUSANDS OF TURKS STRANDED IN LIBYA
Nearly 4,000 Turks, who were caught in the crossfire between Libyan protesters and Gadhafi forces in Benghazi, took refuge in a hangar at the city's airport, Hürriyet daily reported Tuesday.
Turkish workers flooded to the airport in Benghazi – the only one in the region – and hunkered down in an airplane hangar. Libyan protesters reportedly welcomed the Turkish workers and sought to give the workers food and water, saying they were "the grandchildren of the Ottomans."
Serdar Korucu, a Turkish worker in Benghazi, said in a phone interview that Gadhafi forces had withdrawn from the region entirely and protesters were in control. He said protesters brought food and water to them, and there was a severe lack of security.
Korucu said there were three women and three children among the 4,000 workers from 12 Turkish companies.
Four hundred Turkish workers in the small city of Jalo, 500 kilometers south of Benghazi, are facing a risk of starvation.
Turkish workers stranded at a desert construction site 30 kilometers from Jalo ran out of food and water on Monday and had to do with a small amount of breakfast they acquired from the city.
Deniz Lük, who was among the Turks at the site near Jalo working for the Meammararabi company, said in a phone interview that they were running out of diesel fuel and the generator would only last through Monday.
Lük said no company representatives were present at the site and Libyan militia had taken all the construction equipment. He said the Turks did not intervene in order to avoid a confrontation. He said there was no secuirty to protect their lives.
Lük also said there was an airfield belonging to an oil company close to the construction site and small planes could land there. He added there was another airfield in nearby Kufra town and Turkish workers from Jalo could go there if there was a guarantee that planes would retrieve them.
One hundred and seventy Turkish workers were stranded in Derne town, which has seen intense clashes between protesters and Libyan forces.
Muammer Zenginer, one of the Turks whom Hürriyet reached by telephone, said Turkish workers were dispersed around the town as many Libyans took them into their homes as guests and many more workers were staying in a wedding hall.
Zenginer said they couldn't go to Benghazi as they heard there were already many Turks at the airport there, but that they had to go to Benghazi eventually in order to be evacuated by air or sea.
Zenginer said there were four women and two children among the workers and most of the workers were planning to cross to Egypt by land to be evacuated from there.
He said central Derne, where many Turks were staying, was relatively safer than the outskirts of the town, but they feared that clashes might erupt in the center of town as well.
Protesters use Turks as leverage
Meanwhile, daily Radikal reached Atakan Bilici, an electrical engineer trying to flee Benghazi, and interviewed him.
"We have been held in custody for four days by the militia that took control of Benghazi. They first placed us at an airport, then at a hangar and finally in a small stadium. The rebels see us as leverage in negotiations with Gadhafi. We are hungry and fear for our lives," Bilici said.
"The ticket counters at the airport in Benghazi were closed too early and more than half the planes from Turkey took off empty. We were not let on the planes because we did not have baggage cards or plane tickets. Why is our government asking for tickets from us?" he said.
25,000 TURKS IN LIBYA
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who held formal talks in Tunisia, said that safety of Turkish citizens in Libya is the most important thing. Four planes and two ships were sent to Libya to bring Turkish people from Libya back to Turkey. A plan regarding evacuation of Turks via Egypt is also on the agenda. There are around 25,000 Turkish citizens in Libya.
TURKEY'S ENERGY MINISTER DUE TO SAUDI ARABIA
Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz will travel to Saudi Arabia for talks, his office said on Monday.
Taner Yildiz will depart for Riyadh on Monday for talks and to attend the extraordinary ministerial meeting of International Energy Forum, Yildiz's office said in a statement.
During the event, Yildiz will have meetings with Executive Director of International Energy Agency (IEA) Nobuo Tanaka, Saudi Arabia's Petroleum & Mineral Resources Minister Ali al-Naimi, French Industry, Energy & Digital Economy Eric Besson, Japanese Deputy Minister of Economy & Trade Yoshikatsu Nakayama, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman and Greek Deputy Minister for Energy, Environment & Climate Change Ioannis Maniatis.
Yildiz is expected to return to Turkey on Thursday.
The International Energy Forum (IEF) is the world's largest gathering of energy ministers. IEF countries account for more than 90 percent of global oil and gas supply and demand. In addition to IEA and OPEC countries, transit states and key energy players, including Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa, participate in the Forum.
TURKEY'S PRIME MINISTER SAYS OPPOSITION PARTIES HAVE ALREADY LOST ELECTIONS
Turkey's prime minister said on Sunday that opposition parties had already lost the upcoming general elections. Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan said opposition parties did not have any target or project, and therefore they had already lost the general elections due in June.
"They (opposition parties) have already accepted defeat, and they are in an effort to find a reason for their defeat," Erdogan said during an inauguration ceremony in Istanbul.
Erdogan said total investments in Turkey were only 59 billion Turkish liras-TL ($37.5 billion) in 2002 when his Justice & Development party (AKP) came to power.
The prime minister said 43 billion TL (27.3 billion UBD) of it was private sector investments and the rest 16 billion TL ($10.1 billion) was public investments.
Erdogan said total investments in Turkey were up by three-fold at the end of 2009 and reached 161 billion TL ($102.5 billion) despite the global economic crisis.
"Stability and confidence grows Turkey and revives economy, and our democratization steps, reforms on the road to the European Union (EU), and our active foreign policy are making Turkey a global actor and turns the country into a center of attraction," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said the national income was $230 billion eight years ago, however it was up by three-fold and reached $730 billion in eight years.
Turkey's exports reached $114 billion from $36 billion in eight years, Erdogan said.
Erdogan also said inflation declined to 6.4 percent from 30 percent during AKP government and Turkey's debt to the International Monetary Fund were reduced to $5.5 billion from $23.5 billion.
TURKISH FM SAYS TUNISIA TRANSFORMATION COULD BE A MODEL FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said a successful political transformation in Tunisia could set a model for other countries in the Middle East. Davutoğlu visited Tunisia on Monday as the rotating term president of the Council of Europe. "We need to get it right as to why we are on our way to Tunisia instead of Egypt. The healthy transformation of the civil uprising in Tunisia will set an example for the regional countries. Turkey is at the center of the developments," he said.
"WE MONITOR PRESS FREEDOM"
European Commissioner for Enlargement & Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule's spokesperson Natasha Butler said that the EU was monitoring developments regarding freedom of press in Turkey. Butler said that these issues were included in their reports. Butler said that they brought up the matter in meetings with Turkish officials.
TURKEY SET TO LAUNCH REGIONAL APPEALS COURTS
Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin on Monday said Turkey's Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) was set to discuss on Tuesday the appointment of chief prosecutors to nine regional appeals courts, which he hoped would speed up trials in Turkey.