Visa barriers with Libya abolished in historic visit

Turkey and Libya announced on Tuesday that they have mutually abolished visa requirements, opening a new era in once-strained ties.

“We have agreed to end visa requirements,” Libyan Prime Minister al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi announced after talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Tripoli. “We have Eid al-Adha coming up. As of today, Turkish citizens can visit Libya and Libyan citizens can visit Turkey without having to obtain visas.”

Erdoğan, the first Turkish prime minister to visit Libya in 13 years, also met with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The prime minister is accompanied by ministers of foreign affairs, foreign trade, energy and transportation in his three-day visit.

The lifting of the visa requirements came as Turkey works to strengthen trade ties with Libya. Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Zafer Çağlayan, the minister for foreign trade, said Turkey has so far begun projects worth $21 billion in Libya. He added that Libya has promised to set aside business worth tens of billions of dollars to Turkish entrepreneurs.

Libya is a “country of opportunities,” Çağlayan said, emphasizing that there are several areas open for further cooperation between Turkey and Libya.

Erdoğan’s visit marks a turning page in relations with Libya, which deteriorated sharply during the last prime ministerial visit 13 years ago. Then-Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan was given an unpleasant shock during his visit to Tripoli, when Gaddafi reportedly lent support to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by a large majority of the international community.

“The state of Kurdistan should take its place in the spectrum of nations under the Middle Eastern sun. Turkey should not fight against people seeking their independence,” Gaddafi was quoted as saying at the time. Senior-level contacts between the two countries have been rare since then.

“I am not focusing on what happened 13 years ago; we are now assessing our current situation. We are trying to build a different future,” Prime Minister Erdoğan told reporters before departing for Libya. “This is the main purpose of my visit.” He said he would review the current situation in political and economic relations in talks with Libyan authorities.

Libya offers lucrative business opportunities particularly for Turkey’s construction sector. Erdal Eren, head of Turkey’s contractors’ association, said since 2005, Turkish companies have won projects worth $11 billion from Libya and added that Libya offers $8-10-billion projects every year. Eren was optimistic that Erdoğan’s three-day visit will soon have positive impacts on business cooperation with Libya. “For the past two years, we have been telling our prime minister that our business volume with Libya has increased and that political relations should also expand in parallel to the growth in the business ties,” he told Anatolia.

He said other countries, such as Italy and Russia, were already very active in expanding political ties and business cooperation with Libya.

While in Libya, Erdoğan will attend a Libya-Turkey business forum, which will be jointly organized by Libyan and Turkish business circles.

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2 Responses to “Visa barriers with Libya abolished in historic visit”

  1. I thought that jesus guy was dead. Or is he a zombie?

    • beholdjesus Says:

      Jesus is not dead, He is alive and active. He rose from the dead and conquered sin and death. He is alive forevermore! You can know this wonderful man if you so desire.

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