The sources said the United States, particularly President Barack Obama,
supported the Turkish proposal, believed to have also been endorsed by Saudi
Arabia. Obama, regarded as a close ally of Erdogan, said Ankara deserves
membership in the EU.
But Brussels appeared cold to the Turkish plan. The sources said French
President Nicolas Sarkozy opposed the Erdogan proposal despite U.S.
"What Sarkozy said is unprintable, but basically that the United States
is not a member of the EU and cannot dictate who should be a member," the
Ankara has used its Navy to help evacuate many of the 30,000-member
Turkish community in Libya. Turkey has been a major investor in the North
African country, particularly in the construction and infrastructure fields.
So far, neither the European Union nor the United States appears ready
for a military operation against Gadhafi. On Feb. 28, however, the U.S.
Defense Department said it would move troops and military assets near Libya
as part of contingency plans against Gadhafi.
The sources said Sarkozy and other EU leaders regarded Erdogan's plan as
a means to exploit the revolt in Libya. They said Sarkozy and others have
become intractable opponents of Turkish membership in the EU, particularly
given Ankara's pro-Islamic policies and support for Iran.
"The feeling is that Turkey is looking to become the Ottoman
Empire, and most of Europe does not want to go through that history again,"
the diplomat said.