By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 30 May 2016:
Turkey’s new foreign minister flew into Tripoli today and said that he wanted the Turkish . . .[restrict]embassy to be the first to reopen in the capital.
Mevlut Cavusoglu arrived at noon for a series of visits that began with prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj. At the press conference afterwards Cavusoglu said he had chosen Libya for his first official visit because of the importance Ankara attached to success of the Presidency Council and the Government of National Accord.
He said that traditionally, newly-appointed Turkish foreign ministers had made Northern Cyprus or Azerbaijan their first port of call.
Both Turkey and Italy indicated early in April that they were anxious to reopen their embassies. Their missions are close to the Abu Sittah naval base where the PC has its headquarters. One diplomat said at the time that they would fall within the security cordon surrounding the naval base. There were unconfirmed reports that Italian security specialists had visited the abandoned Italian embassy in Shara Ala Ben Hadrami.
Cavusoglu said his talks with Serraj had been positive and he had insisted Turkey wanted to be part of the reconstruction of Libya’s war-torn infrastructure. “ Turkey and Turkish companies will play an important role in meeting all of Libya’s needs,”he said, “especially in the fields of energy and road and airport construction”.
The Turkish foreign minister did not say if he had raised the issue of the $20 billion of outstanding debts owed Turkish companies from projects aborted since the Revolution.
One key issue Cavusoglu said had been discussed was Turkish visas for Libyans, a requirement that was imposed last August. The only Libyan source of the visas is the Turkish consulate that continues to operate out of Misrata. Otherwise, would-be travellers have had to apply at the Turkish mission in Tunis. There has been increasing frustration at detailed nature and duration of the procedures, including those necessary to extend existing visas.
Cavusoglu today revealed: “”We have given the appropriate instructions to our consulates … regarding the extension of Turkish visas to Libyans,” he said, adding, “We have begun e-visa applications and have authorised some private companies to begin granting visas”.
The Turkish politician’s visit was timed to coincide with a delivery by the Turkish Red Crescent of humanitarian aid to Mitiga Airport. The shipment included ten tons of food and medical supplies.
Cavusoglu later went on with GNA foreign minister-designate Mohamed Taha Siala for meetings with the Tripoli local government. [/restrict]