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Erdogan announces plan to send troops to Libya

Thursday 26 December 2019, by siawi3


Erdogan announces plan to send troops to Libya

Turkish PM to seek his parliament’s support in January following Tripoli-based govt’s request for military backing.
26.12.19 - 7 hours ago

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced military backing for Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), now that the north African country requested it.

In a speech in Ankara on Thursday, Erdogan said on January 7 he will present a bill to the Turkish Parliament on deployment legislation.

“Since there is an invitation [from Libya] right now, we will accept it,” Erdogan told members of his AK Party. “We will present the motion to send troops [to Libya] as soon as Parliament resumes.”

“God willing, we will pass it in Parliament on January 8-9 and thus respond to an invitation” from the Tripoli-based GNA, he said.

Erdogan: Turkey will increase military support to GNA if needed

Libya’s Haftar announces ’decisive battle’ to capture Tripoli

Turkish Parliament ratifies security deal with Libya: State media

Follwoing Erdogan’s announcement, interior minister Fathi Bashagha told reporters in Tunis that Libya’s internationally recognised government will officially request military support from Turkey if the war over the capital escalates.

“If the situation escalates then we have the right to defend Tripoli and its residents,” Bashagha said.

Last month, Turkish and Libyan officials, led by GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, signed a memorandum of understanding on security and military cooperation.

The GNA’s cabinet of ministers and Turkish legislators have since ratified the deal, but a separate motion is needed to send troops.

Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from the Libyan capital, said Ankara needed an official request for troops on the ground from Tripoli before a motion could be presented to Parliament.

“The military and security cooperation agreement signed between Turkey and Libya last month does not entail sending troops.”That is why Erdogan was asking for an official request from the GNA before he can proceed with presenting this to Parliament for an endorsement," said Abdelwahed.

The GNA in Tripoli has not disclosed any information that an official request has been made.

Thursday’s announcement came a day after Erdogan met with his Tunisian counterpart, Kais Saied, during a surprise visit to the Tunisian capital to discuss developments in neighbouring Libya.

Erdogan told reporters in Tunis that the two leaders discussed ways to establish a ceasefire and bring warring factions back to the negotiating table.

Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s willingness to send troops to support the GNA, saying Ankara would do so at the Libyan government’s request.
Rival administrations

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The country has been split into rival eastern and western administrations since 2014, with the GNA, currently controlling Tripoli, situated in northwestern Libya, and a parallel administration holding the east of the oil-rich country, supported by renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA).
Turkey’s Erdogan makes surprise visit to Tunisia to discuss Libya

Since early April, Haftar has waged a military campaign against the GNA, which he accuses of harbouring “terrorist elements”.

Turkey and Qatar support the GNA, while Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France, support Haftar.

Moscow last month denied reports in the New York Times that it had sent mercenaries to fight on Haftar’s side, while the UN has also accused LNA forces of recruiting fighters from Sudan.

According to Al Jazeera’s Abdelwahed, the deployment of Turkish troops to Libya could help defend the capital, Tripoli, against a military offensive by Haftar’s forces.

“Many military commanders with the GNA say that Haftar’s forces have been recently advancing on the ground, taking control of strategic locations in southern Tripoli including military camps,” he said.

“Military forces are also very concerned about the Russian assistance to Haftar’s military forces.”Turkish troops on the ground in Libya can definitely make a change.“Regarding Haftar’s backers, Erdogan said on Thursday:”They are helping a warlord. We are responding to an invitation from the legitimate government of Libya ... That is our difference."

VIDEO here What role will Turkey play in Libya?



Turkey to send troops to Libya in support of Tripoli government

Photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey’s historical ties with Libya and the risk that events there could spill over into the wider region would compel Turkey to intervene © via REUTERS

Ayla Jean Yackley
in Istanbul 6 hours ago 26.12.19

Turkey said it would send troops to Libya after Tripoli’s UN-backed government requested greater military support in its battle against a rival administration, in a move that risks escalating tensions that have already drawn in regional powers.

Turkey last month agreed to a defence pact with Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s Tripoli-based government to supply arms, share intelligence and provide training to security officers fighting for the embattled administration.

“We will submit a deployment motion to parliament. And with its approval we will much more effectively support the legitimate government in Libya,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech to party members on Thursday. Turkey’s parliament will vote on the motion on January 8 or 9, he added.

The internationally recognised government has been locked in a power struggle with the Libyan National Army controlled by rebel commander Khalifa Haftar, which holds the country’s oil-rich east.

Gen Haftar launched an offensive to seize Tripoli in April, and more than 1,000 people have been killed and 120,000 displaced since, according to the UN.

Turkey’s foray across the Mediterranean Sea could further escalate the proxy war now gripping Libya. Turkey and Qatar back the Tripoli government, while Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and France support Gen Haftar.

The UN said this month that Turkey, along with Jordan and the UAE, have repeatedly breached an arms embargo on Libya.

Mr Erdogan said Turkey’s historical ties with Libya, parts of which were once controlled by the Ottoman Empire, and the risk that events there will spill over into the wider region would compel Turkey to intervene.

The pledge to put boots on the ground comes one day after Mr Erdogan paid a surprise visit to Tunisia, where he and President Kais Saied discussed efforts for a ceasefire and resumption of negotiations between Libya’s warring factions.
Violence escalates in Libya following Turkey pledge

In his speech, Mr Erdogan accused Russia of sending 2,000 paramilitary forces and Sudan of providing 5,000 troops without approval of the official Libyan government.

The dispute over Libya could stoke tensions with Moscow, with which the Turkish government has collaborated closely in Syria to expel a US-allied Kurdish militia and force President Donald Trump to withdraw American soldiers from a buffer zone along Turkey’s border in October.

Turkish and Russian officials met this week to resolve differences on Libya and Syria. While they are co-operating in north-east Syria, Turkey-backed rebels and civilians are being bombarded by Syrian government and Russian warplanes in the north-west province of Idlib, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee to Turkey’s border.

A separate deal Turkey reached with the Tripoli government this month redrew maritime borders, cutting through territory claimed by Greece and Cyprus who are planning a pipeline to ship natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

The near-neighbours are involved in a long-running dispute over exploration rights for undersea gas and oil. Turkey previously sent drill ships and warships off the coast of Cyprus, where it has kept about 30,000 troops in the island’s breakaway north since invading in 1974. The EU has threatened to sanction Turkey over what Brussels said was “unauthorised drilling”.