4 May 2011

Turkey urges Gaddafi to step down

5:33 pm on 4 May 2011

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is urging Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down in the interests of peace within his country.

Mr Erdogan says Colonel Gaddafi has ignored Turkey's advice by using force against his people.

The BBC reports Mr Erdogan previously took a more conciliatory approach towards Libya where Colonel Gaddafi's troops have been fighting rebel forces for several weeks.

Turkey has temporarily closed its Tripoli embassy and withdrawn its employees, although it is keeping an embassy open in Benghazi, which is held by rebels.

In a speech, Mr Erdogan said Colonel Gaddafi had ignored calls for change in Libya and preferred ''bloodshed'' than listening to his people.

''One cannot establish future, liberty, stability, peace and justice on blood,'' he said.

''Therefore we wish Libyan leader immediately pulls out from Libya and steps down for himself and for the future of the country.''

Mr Erdogan also said Turkey would do all it could to ensure the people of Libya take the lead in establishing a more democratic system and would talk to the National Transitional Council.