One of the most important regional powers in the Middle East has recognized the Libyan rebels as the legitimate government of that country, giving a potentially fatal blow to Moammar Gaddafi.
In officially recognizing the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC), Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also promised to send more aid to the rebel groups and demanded that Gaddafi step down.
Davutoglu met with the leader of the TNC, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, in Benghazi in eastern Libya, the unofficial capitol of the rebel movement.
Public demand for reforms should be answered, Gaddafi should go and Libya shouldn't be divided, said Davutoglu at a news conference.
I am here to express solidarity with the Libyan people. Their legitimate right should be realized, there should be a permanent solution to the crisis, which is possible only through a political solution based on the demands of the Libyan people.
Davutoglu added: We see the Transitional National Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people to achieve their goals. If there is an agreement, we will do everything for the implementation of that agreement.
Turkey has pledged an additional $200-million in financial aid for the TNC, on top of the $100-million it has already proposed.
Mahmoud Jibril, another rebel leader, will reportedly visit Turkey on Tuesday to discuss the promised financial aid in detail.
Turkey, which had initially opposed western military intervention in Libya, has significant investments in the North African country, including construction projects valued at billions of dollars.
Ali al-Essawi, the rebels' foreign minister, said Turkey has given us political as well as financial support and humanitarian aid.
Separately, the TNC’s Jalil has said that Gaddafi would be free to live out the rest of his life peacefully in Libya as long as he and his inner-circle relinquish all power.
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, Jalil told Reuters.
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.
However, another top rebel official played down that assertion. Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga suggested Jalil was expressing a personal view, not official policy.
Let Gaddafi show us one place in Libya where he hasn't harmed, tortured or killed people and he could stay there, but this place doesn't exist, said Ghoga.