The U.S. ambassador to Turkey was misidentified in an article yesterday. He is Robert Strausz-Hupe.
The Reagan administration has been quietly pressing the Turkish government to expel a controversial Libyan diplomat linked to terrorism, but Turkey feels it is already doing what it can on the issue, a Turkish minister of state said yesterday.
Meshut Yilmaz, here for a private visit, told reporters and editors of The Washington Post that the U.S. ambassador to Turkey had twice "raised the question" of the presence in Ankara of Mohammed Abdul Malek, head of the Libyan People's Bureau.
Malek was expelled from the United States in 1980 and from Switzerland in 1983 for activities "incompatible with the status of a diplomat," according to the State Department. Yilmaz said U.S. Ambassador Robert V. Keeley asked only that Turkey "take into consideration [Malek's] past history."
Yilmaz noted that Malek had been sent to Turkey and accepted there before the present Turkish government took power in 1984, and so "it would not be right" to expel him now. He said Turkey deals firmly with terrorism, noting its long campaign against Armenian terrorists and its arrest of two Libyans in connection with an aborted hand-grenade attack on a U.S. officers' club in Ankara on April 18.
The two Libyans are now being tried on charges of conspiracy to kill and possession of weapons, while three other Libyans, including two diplomats, who fled the country are also on trial in absentia.
A State Department official said Turkey "is taking effective action" against terrorism. "We recognize the sensitivity of their situation," the official said.
The United States pushed Turkey to express support for its April 15 bombing of Libya, while Libya wanted Turkey to support the Libyan position as a fellow Moslem state, Yilmaz said. More than 30,000 Turkish workers now live in Libya, which does $4 billion a year in business with Turkey as one of its five largest trading partners.
Turkey regards the U.S. attack on Libya as "not compatible with international law," Yilmaz said, but he said alternative responses are difficult to work out.
Yilmaz said his government expects Libya to move voluntarily after the trial to reduce its activities in Turkey.