Erdogan: Turkey closely monitors developments in region
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey closely monitored the developments in the Middle East and in the region, Anadolu News Agency reported.
"We have been making necessary steps. The state assesses and does whatever needed," Erdogan said while speaking at a group meeting of his Justice & Development (AK) Party.
"We see that protests have been spreading. The incidents that started in Tunisia spread first to Egypt and later to Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Morocco and Algeria," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said there were around 25,000 Turkish citizens and more than 200 Turkish citizens in Libya, adding that, "we will not make concession from our principled stance, we won't be deaf to the screams of brotherly people and we will not give harm to Turkey's interests."
Referring to incidents in Libya Erdogan said, "we have been receiving news reports causing concern in Turkey and in the whole region. Contrary to those happening in Tunisia and Egypt, tough measures are imposed on demonstrators in Libya. We received information that death toll has risen to hundreds of people."
Erdogan said Turkey had been endeavoring to bring Turkish citizens back from Libya to Turkey, noting more than 1,000 Turkish citizens had been evacuated.
"A ship of Turkish Armed Forces and two hydrofoils will reach the region today. All necessary measures have been taken. Steps have been made considering all alternatives including assault boats and frigates," Erdogan said.
He said, "We have shown similar sensitivity toward Egypt but number of Turkish citizens was less there so we managed to evacuate them quickly. I talked to Ghaddafi two times regarding evacuation of Turkish citizens. They told us to send the planes but our planes were not allowed to land as there were nobody at the airport. Our planes had to return."
Erdogan said all related institutions were on alert and continued efforts, "we have been carrying out necessary diplomatic talks with Libya. Efforts are underway to evacuate 700 Turkish citizens in Benghazi."
"Libya is a brotherly country for us. It is very tormenting for us that brothers are killing each other. Demands of people for democracy and freedoms should not be disregarded. We feel great sorrow over killing of people in Libya," he said.
Erdogan said it would not be possible for an administration which remained indifferent to the beliefs and expectations of its people and which considered its own people as enemy and threat for a long time.