Turkey Says It Offered Gadhafi 'Guarantee' to Leave Libya

U.S. Congress receives letter purportedly from Gadhafi requesting ceasefire negotiations.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday his country had offered a "guarantee" to Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi if he left Libya, but said Ankara had received no answer.

"Gadhafi has no way out but to leave Libya, through the guarantees given to him, it seems," Erdogan told NTV broadcaster in an interview. Erdogan, whose country is a member of NATO, did not specify what kind of guarantee his country had offered to Gadhafi.

Gadhafi - AP - 11.5.11
AP

Meanwhile, a letter purported to be from Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi suggests to the U.S. Congress that he is ready to negotiate a ceasefire in the three-month-old conflict. Congressional officials said they were examining the authenticity of the letter, according to ABC News and Politico newspaper.

In the three-page letter, Gadhafi said he was grateful for the "thoughtful discussion of the issues." Gadhafi allegedly wrote, "We are ready to sit at the table with appropriate internal interlocutors led by the United States. Let's stop the destruction and begin the negotiations to find a peaceful solution for Libya."

As early as April, Gadhafi proposed a ceasefire that would have put all the humanitarian assistance flowing into the country into the government's hands. Libya's opposition forces have said they would only accept a ceasefire if Gadhafi withdraws his forces from all of Libya's cities and gives Libyans greater freedoms.

NATO forces have been conducting an air war against Gadhafi's forces aimed at protecting civilians and opposition forces who were under attack by the Libyan regime.

"Our nation must not be colonized again by Europeans. Our Country must not be divided again," the letter states. Gadhafi also asked for humanitarian assistance and "accommodation between the parties within Libya that are at odds." The letter was dated June 9, 2011 and is signed by "Muammar Gadhafi, Commander of the Great Revolution."

Since the uprising against Gadhafi's rule began in February, Erdogan has distanced himself from the Libyan leader. Ankara has called on Gadhafi several times to order a cease-fire and to quit in order to allow a transition of power.

Muslim Turkey had sizeable trade and commercial ties with Gadhafi's Libya, and evacuated more than 20,000 citizens working there as violence engulfed the North African desert nation.

"We ourselves have offered him this guarantee, via the representatives we've sent. We told him we would help him to be sent wherever he wanted to be sent. We would discuss the issue with our allies, according to the response we receive. Unfortunately we still haven't got a response from Gadhafi."

In the interview, Erdogan expressed frustration at what he called Gadhafi's stalling tactics. "I have contacted him six or seven times. I sent our special representatives, but we always faced stalling tactics. They tell us they want a cease fire, we tell them to take a step, but the next day you find out that some places were bombed."

"We're asking them 'what are you doing' and they tell us they fired back because they were fired at. There's nothing like that. We were closely watching at that time."