Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to step down and leave the country “immediately.”
Mr. Erdogan said Tuesday in Istanbul that Mr. Gadhafi has chosen “blood, tears and destruction” while ignoring calls for reform. He said Mr. Gadhafi must step down to prevent the Libyan people from further suffering.
Turkey has been a strong ally of the Libyan government and had voiced opposition in March against sanctions or military intervention in the country.
Turkey said Monday it is evacuating staff from its embassy. It was one of the few diplomatic missions kept open. The U.N. withdrew its international staff from Tripoli on Sunday.
Italy Tuesday said it will work with NATO to try to set a date to end military operations in Libya. Italy increased its presence in the international mission last week by allowing its fighter jets to participate in bombing operations over Libya.
Meanwhile, International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says he has “strong evidence” of crimes against humanity in Libya. He says he has documented shootings of civilians in demonstrations, along with massive illegal arrests, torture of people and forced disappearances.
The International Organization for Migration on Tuesday appealed to all sides in the crisis to allow its rescue ship to dock in the port city of Misrata. The organization said about 1,000 migrants and wounded civilians are stranded there and need to be evacuated.
The ship has been waiting offshore since Saturday.
The plea comes a day after pro-government forces launched new attacks on the besieged western city of Misrata.
At least four people were killed and 30 wounded as pro-government tanks continued shelling the city of Misrata Monday. The third day of rocket and artillery fire at the port is preventing international aid ships from reaching the city that is controlled by rebels but surrounded by government forces.
In Tripoli Monday, crowds chanted support for Mr. Gadhafi at a funeral for his second youngest son and three young grandchildren. Libyan officials said they were killed late Saturday in a NATO air strike. voa