Turkey has agreed to look after US interests in Libya after the United States closed its embassy there last month, the State Department said.
“Turkey has agreed to be our protecting power in Libya,” Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, told reporters, referring to the new role Ankara will play serving US interests in Tripoli.
There were signs Turkey was effectively playing such a role when Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday that four New York Times reporters detained in Libya were released and handed over to Turkey’s embassy in Tripoli.
Washington shuttered its embassy in Tripoli last month after Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi’s forces launched a violent crackdown against anti-government unrest.
On March 10, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States was suspending ties with the Libyan embassy in Washington and expecting it to cease operations.