Turkey Recognizes Libya Rebels, Promises More Aid
Some of the money will be used to rehab the Benghazi airport
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 3, 2011 4:37 PM CDT
Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu, center, with his son, bottom left, shakes hands with officials from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Libya, upon his arrival Sunday, July 3, 2011.    (Sergey Ponomarev)

(Newser) – Turkey's foreign minister recognized Libya's rebel leaders as the country's legitimate representatives today, joining countries like France, Qatar, and Italy in doing so. Ahmet Davutoglu also promised the rebels an additional $200 million in aid during the visit. The meeting is the most powerful signal to-date that Turkey, which has vast trade interests in Libya, is throwing its weight behind the Libyan opposition despite its long-time relations with Moammar Gadhafi.

"For us, the destiny of Libya is the same as the destiny of Turkey," said Davutoglu. "I expressed our solidarity and commitment." Turkey has already granted the Libyan opposition $100 million in aid; some of the money is to be used to improve the infrastructure of Benghazi and rehabilitate its airport. The CEO of the Turkish Airlines said his company would resume flights to Benghazi as soon as the security situation improves.
 

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