May 23, 2011 / 4:27 PM / 7 years ago

Turkey meets Libyan rebels, tells Gaddafi to quit

* Gaddafi must quit to allow peaceful transition of power

* Rebel council a credible representative of Libyans -Turkey

ANKARA, May 23 (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi should quit in order to allow a peaceful transition of power, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday, standing alongside the head of Libya’s revolutionary movement.

A major Muslim partner in NATO, Turkey earlier this month proposed a timetable for a ceasefire that could allow a political transition to take place.

“During this transition process a ceasefire should be established and Gaddafi should leave the leadership,” Davutoglu told a joint news conference with Mustafa Abdul Jaleel, head of the Libyan national transitional council.

Davutoglu said the council is “a legal and credible representative of the Libyan people”.

A Turkish foreign ministry official told journalists after the news conference that this did not mean Turkey recognised the council as sole representative of the Libyan people.

Jaleel, who also met Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, said Turkey’s proposed road map encapsulated the Libyan people’s demands, including for Gaddafi and his family to leave.

He said Turkey’s involvement disproved Gaddafi’s claims that NATO’s actions in Libya were part of a Western crusade.

“The main aim of this operation is to protect civilians,” Jaleel said. “This is not a crusade.”

“Our objective is a political solution for the bloodshed to stop, but that depends on the condition that Gaddafi and his family leave.” (Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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