Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has stated that Ankara is against the unilateral intervention in Mali, adding that all efforts to restore Mali's territorial integrity should be carried out under the United Nations umbrella.
French ground troops last Wednesday pressed northward in Mali toward territory occupied for months by militants in the start of a land assault that came after five days of air strikes that did little to erode rebel gains.
Speaking as a guest speaker of the semi-official Anatolia news agency Editorial Desk on Friday, Davutoglu assessed current topics from Turkey's foreign policy, including the Syrian crisis, to the French military intervention in Mali, the latest developments from Iraq as well as Turkish-Israeli relations.
Davutoglu's remarks regarding the intervention in Mali were the first comments by a Turkish official since the French-led military operation in Mali, aided by the country's African neighbors and Western powers to fight against rebels who occupied the northern provinces, began eight days ago.
Northern Mali fell under rebel control after a March military coup in Bamako triggered a Tuareg-led rebel offensive that seized the north and split the West African nation in two.
The minister's Mali remarks came a day after the Foreign Affairs Ministry released a diplomatically written statement with no clear position on Ankara's stance on the issue.
Turkey on Thursday said Ankara is closely monitoring the developments in Mali and it will continue supporting international efforts to restore national reconciliation and democracy through free elections as fighting raged on the eighth day of the French-led military intervention to wrest back Mali's north from al-Qaeda-linked groups.
Touching on the issue of Mali, Davutoglu stressed that they have asked to the executive committee of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to convene member countries for an extraordinary meeting on Mali.