Turkey questions 'secret intentions' in Libya strike
ISTANBUL - Turkey's president said Wednesday that some countries in the coalition striking Libya are driven by "opportunism" and have prompted suspicions of "secret intentions" in the oil-rich country.
"The issue is essentialy about peoples' freedom and ending oppression... but unfortunately it is obvious that some countries are driven by opportunism," Abdullah Gul told reporters, without giving names.
"Some who until yesterday were closest to the dictators and sought to take advantage of them... display an excessive behaviour today and raise suspicions of secret intentions," he said.
Turkey, NATO's sole predominantly Muslim member and a key player in the Middle East, has slammed the strikes on Libya, saying the formation of the Western-led coalition had failed to "sufficiently" meet international rules.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Tuesday that the strikes might be counter-productive as "we have seen in the past that such operations... increase loss of life, turn into occupation and seriously harm the countries' unity."
France's leadership in the operation and its failure to invite Turkey to Saturday's summit in Paris that preceded the raids has irked Ankara, adding chill to bilateral ties, already strained over President Nicolas Sarkozy's vocal opposition to Turkey's EU membership bid.
With NATO members divided over the role the alliance should play in Libya, Turkey on Sunday blocked the approval of operational plans for a no-fly zone, criticising the scope of the operation, which has targeted also the forces of Libyan strongman Moamer Gathafi.
Gul urged Gathafi Wednesday to quit power to prevent further turmoil in his country.
"We always said that in today's world oppressive leaders cannot stay in power... If those who rule Libya leave office as soon as possible, they will make things easier and will not provide an opportunity for others to plunder their country," he said.