Turkey to run Benghazi airport

2011-03-28 13:17
Ankara - Turkey will take over the running of the airport in Libya's rebel bastion of Benghazi to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

"An agreement has been concluded (with local authorities in Libya) in order that Turkey takes responsibility for Benghazi Airport for distributing humanitarian aid," Erdogan told reporters before leaving Ankara for a working-trip to Iraq.

He did not say when Turkey would undertake the mission.

An official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told AFP that Turkey had agreed to run the airport following a request from insurgents.

Turkey will send "civilian and technical personnel" to run the airport, the same source said.

"Progress has been made to ensure that the airport be reopened", the official added.

Turkey, Nato's sole predominantly Muslim member and a key regional player, has slammed Western-led air strikes on Libya, vowing to "never point a gun at the Libyan people" and stressing the need for humanitarian aid efforts.

The Turkish parliament, however, approved the dispatch of a naval force to Libyan waters as the Islamist-rooted government moved reluctantly to join the military campaign in the north African country.

Ankara has pledged six vessels to a Nato patrol mission to enforce a UN arms embargo against Gaddafi’s regime.

Read more on:    recep tayyip erdogan  |  libya  |  turkey  |  aid  |  libya protests  |  north africa  |  uprisings

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