Turkey cuts diplomatic ties with Gaddafi's Libyan gov't

Davutoglu recognizes rebel National Council as representative of Libyan people; rebels say Gaddafi can live out retirement in Libya.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Turkey cut its diplomatic ties with Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan government and recalled its ambassador, the Turkish Official Gazette reported over the weekend.
The move came after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi on Sunday and pledged $200 million in aid to the rebel Transitional National Council . That was in addition to a $100 million fund announced in June.
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It was time for Gaddafi to leave Libya, Davutoglu said, declaring the rebel National Council "a legitimate representative of the Libyan people".
The rebels say they need more than $3 billion to cover salaries and other needs over the next six months.
"Public demand for reforms should be answered, Gaddafi should go and Libya shouldn't be divided,"  Davutoglu said in Benghazi.
Meanwhile, Libya's rebel chief said Sunday that Gaddafi is welcome to live out his retirement inside Libya as long as he gives up all power, in the clearest concession the rebels have so far offered.
Gaddafi has resisted all international calls for him to go and said he will fight to the end, but members of his inner circle have given indications they are ready to negotiate with the rebels, including on the Libyan leader's future.
Gaddafi is still holding on to power, five months into a rebellion against his 41-year rule and despite a NATO bombing campaign and an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for crimes against humanity.
"As a peaceful solution, we offered that he can resign and order his soldiers to withdraw from their barracks and positions, and then he can decide either to stay in Libya or abroad," rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil told Reuters in an interview.
"If he desires to stay in Libya, we will determine the place and it will be under international supervision. And there will be international supervision of all his movements," said Jalil, who heads the rebels' National Transitional Council.
Speaking in his eastern Libyan stronghold of Benghazi, Abdel Jalil, Gaddafi's former justice minister, said he made the proposal about a month ago through the United Nations but had yet to receive any response from Tripoli.
He said one suggestion was that Gaddafi could spend his retirement under guard in a military barracks.
Abdel Jalil's remarks stirred an emotional reaction in Benghazi, with a small protest against any talks with Gaddafi breaking out outside a hotel, and the rebel council playing down any speculation about a widening rift among its leaders.
Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, a council vice chairman, told reporters an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Gaddafi had now made any such proposal null and void.
Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East
Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East