Libya: Erdogan pledges Turkish military deployment if GNA requests for it

Turkey will deploy military troops to Libya if the UN-backed Government of National Accord, GNA, makes the request, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday in Ankara.

“Regarding sending troops to Libya, if they request assistance, we would respond to that demand,” Erdoğan said during an event for World Human Rights Day in Ankara.

On Monday, he had told TRT TV channel that Turkey would not seek the permission of anyone if it was to deploy troops in Libya at GNA’s request.

With these statements, Turkey clearly expresses its support for the GNA struggling to impose its authority over the entire territory since its establishment in Dec. 2015.

Libya has two rival administrations, the GNA and its foe based in the east and backed by former leader Muammar Gadhafi’s military aid, Khalifa Haftar.

Haftar’s forces, which control the majority of the Libyan territory, launched in April a surprise military offensive to seize capital Tripoli.

The GNA-aligned forces have resisted the military push. Turkey has provided technical support.

Erdogan defends Turkey’s inference as support for the internationally recognized government of Libya.

“Actually, this was a process that started during the (Moammar) Gadhafi era. When he died, the process ended. Now, we have taken steps with Sarraj. Haftar does not have international recognition. The one who has international recognition is Sarraj. That’s why we sit at the table with him, and we will continue our cooperation with him,” Erdogan insists.

The Tuesday pledge came following Nov. 23 maritime agreement between Ankara and Tripoli. The deal signed during Sarraj’s visit, enables Turkey to assert its rights in the Mediterranean while preventing any fait accompli maneuvers by other regional states, the Turkish presidency said after the signing of the deal.

The Memorandum guarantees Turkey’s sovereignty over the maritime zone in hand with the GNA.

“Turkey used its rights originating from international law in the Libya deal; Greece, Israel, Egypt and the Greek Cypriot Administration cannot act without our approval,” Erdogan had stressed.

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