A National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL) delegation headed by Muhammed Yusuf Al Magariaf, the group’s former chief, discussed Libya’s political transformation with Erdem during a meeting open to the press. According to the Anatolia news agency, Magariaf said Libyan political parties have “much to learn” from the mix of moderate Islam and secular democracy promoted by Turkey’s ruling AK Party and asked for “support and guidance” for the NFSL from AK Party leaders.
Erdem meanwhile praised the actions of the NFSL, which was formed in opposition to former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi’s rule in 1981. He warned, however, that Turkey’s own conflict-ridden years of democratic transition show that establishing a vibrant democracy is a long-term process. “We’ve acted within the democratic system, within the framework of the rules of a democracy. But we’ve paid our price,” Erdem stated, recalling the 1960 coup that deposed Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and oversaw his execution. “Menderes … opened Turkey up to the world,” Erdem remarked. Fifty-two years later, according to Erdem, Turkey has “borne the brunt of every attempt to inhibit democracy” but should be proud of the growing strength of its democratic institutions.
Libya’s own fledgling democracy is slated for its first election this June, which comes as government control over much of the country remains tenuous and the strength of Libyan militias remains strong. Unrest and calls for autonomy in the country’s restive east have raised concerns over the power of the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) to maintain order in the country.
The Libyan leaders are scheduled to meet with other members of the government later this week.