Libya’s premier Abdurrahim Al-Kib has been warned by his Turkish opposite number that until the security improves and militias are disbanded, . . .[restrict]it is unlikely that Turkish contractors would return to the country to complete some $15 billion of projects that were under way at the start of the revolution.
During his meeting on Saturday with Turkish Premier Recep Erdogan in Istanbul Al-Kib was told that the NTC needed to bring the militias under control and restructure the police and armed forces if stability was to return to the country.
“The success of the transition process in Libya is proportional with the establishment of security” said Erdogan at a press conference after the meeting. “I believe the Libyan administration will never turn away from this. It is of primary importance that the security forces be restructured and militia forces disbanded.’’
Erdogan went on to say that Turkey would continue to supply the Libyan police with training and equipment. Ankara has already sent police vehicles. A senior Turkish police officer visited Tripoli in January to discuss how Turkey can give further support to the Libyan police.
Ignoring the fact that Ankara initially resisted the Libyan intervention by its fellow NATO members, Al-Kib thanked Turkey for its backing during the revolution. Saying that Libyans saw Turkish democracy as a model, he hoped that Turkish companies would be returning as soon as possible.
When Turkey evacuated its 24,000 citizens early during the revolution, there were more than 200 construction projects in which Turkish contractors were involved, including work on airports, water treatment plants, hospitals, hotels and a shopping complex. Libya was also a good market for Turkish produce, including white goods. Before the revolution the balance of trade was $2.4 billion in favour of Ankara.
The delegation headed by the prme minister includes Labor Minister Mustafa Rujbani, Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelal, Economy Minister Taher Sarkaz and Electricity Minister Awad Barasa.
After Turkey, the prime minister and his team were due to head to Qatar and then the United Arab Emirates. [/restrict]