Gov’t under fire for funds allocated to Libya’s NTC

August 25, 2011, Thursday/ 17:17:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Opposition parties have attacked the government for funds allocated to Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC), questioning the legitimacy of helping the Benghazi-based opposition administration while also questioning the appropriateness of the way these funds have been conveyed to Libyans.

Turkish government officials, speaking with Today's Zaman on Thursday, however, dismissed the criticism, underlining that all of the operations involving the funds allocated to Libya's NTC were properly recorded using transparent methods.

During a visit to Benghazi by Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Tuesday, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of the NTC said the council would have been unable to pay salaries if it had not received the cash handouts from Turkey. “The Turkish government has overcome bureaucracy and transferred the funds they had promised the Libyan people in cash and directly. It's a new method for transferring money called the Turkish method,” said Abdul Jalil.

Although the Turkish capital had already announced a $300 million aid package, which includes $100 million in cash, another $100 million as “a gift” and humanitarian projects valued at $100 million, back in July, the issue was portrayed in the Turkish media as if it was a newly announced aid package following Jalil's remarks.

“Nobody can use public resources as if it is his own father's money,” Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) parliamentary group deputy chairman Mehmet Şandır said in remarks published in the media on Thursday. Şandır urged the prime minister to explain the source of these funds.

“Was this money sent from the prime minister's discretionary fund? The prime minister should explain it to society,” Şandır said.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Gürsel Tekin, meanwhile, made a comparison between Libya's opposition and terror organizations launching attacks within Turkey.

“What will you say when such help comes from outside of the country to the opposition in Turkey because of the problems being experienced in Turkey?” Tekin was quoted as saying by the Habertürk daily on Thursday during an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner with reporters on Tuesday.

When asked what he meant by saying “opposition in Turkey,” Tekin replied: “Like how there are problems in the Middle East, there is a terror problem in Turkey too. If some people come and say ‘I want to help the terror organization,' what will you say? Wouldn't they tell you that you also did the same?”

Turkey has given $100 million to Libyan rebels in four installments since late July, Turkish officials have, meanwhile, revealed.

The payments were all made in cash, bypassing possible bureaucratic complications that would have arisen had the transaction been carried out through other methods, officials told Today's Zaman. Turkey first sent $10 million directly to the opposition stronghold of Benghazi in late July and three $30 million cash handouts have been given to the opposition delegations that have subsequently visited Ankara.

Officials highlighted that each time they gave the cash handouts to the visiting delegations, they checked whether the cash reached the proper addressee in Benghazi.

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