Turkey's Parliament ratifies military deal with Libya

  • 21:19 21 December 2019

Turkey's Parliament ratifies military deal with Libya

Turkey's Parliament approved a security and military deal with Libya's U.N.-supported government Saturday, ONA reports citing Daily Sabah.

The deal allows Turkey to provide military training and equipment at the request of the Libyan government that controls the capital, Tripoli, and some of the country's west.

Vice President Fuat Oktay said Saturday that Turkey is ready to take necessary steps on the deployment of Turkish troops in Libya if the U.N.-recognized government makes a request, .

"If our Libyan brothers make such a request, Turkey is ready to do what is necessary," Oktay said, speaking at a trade and cooperation meeting held in Istanbul.

On Nov. 27, Ankara and Tripoli reached two separate memorandums of understanding, one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Following the military cooperation deal, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara might consider sending troops to Libya if the Tripoli government made such a request.

Since the ousting and death of longtime dictator Muammar Gadhafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya. Turkey and Qatar, as well as Italy, have been allied with Sarraj's government based in Tripoli, while Khalifa Haftar, who commands forces based in eastern Libya, is backed by France, Russia and key Arab countries, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia.

On April 4, Hafter's forces launched an offensive to capture the capital Tripoli from GNA forces. Haftar's April push made early gains but has stalled on the edges of the capital in a bloody stalemate.

According to the latest U.N. figures Friday, the fighting has left at least 284 civilians dead and 363 wounded since the April 4 start of the armed conflict that has forced more than 140,000 Libyans to flee their homes.

Following the GNA's announcement over Turkey, the United Nations' mission in Libya, UNSMIL, renewed its call for a political solution to the conflict.

"UNSMIL regrets the recent developments: military escalation, growing foreign interference in Libya adn the exchange of treason accusations by Libyan parties, which put the unity of Libya at risk," it tweeted overnight.

Oktay's remarks came after Libya's U.N.-recognized unity government Friday urged five "friendly countries" to implement military deals as it seeks to repel the forces of an eastern-based strongman fighting to seize the capital.

Tripoli-based GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj sent letters to the leaders of the United States, Britain, Italy, Algeria and Turkey, urging them to "activate security cooperation deals," his office said in a statement.

Faig Mahmudov