Before you tried installing the GTK package, did you install build-essential for LMDE?
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apt-get install build-essential
as root? This package is normally required for any development and also normally keeps the type library conflicts to a minimum.
Yes, LMDE points to some Mint libraries as a part of the user interface. The Mint menu, updater and other packages are the same for both Mint based distros. Ubuntu and Debian can use many of the same application .deb packages, but some will clobber each other, especially packages which change the user interface. In the same way, GTK packages can be used for the LXDE and Enlightenment desktops, but can conflict and change operation, depending on which packages are chosen.