UN-backed Libyan govt requests Turkish military support

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he will move a motion to provide armed support to Libya's UN backed government once the parliament is in session
Last Updated 28 December 2019, 04:06 IST

Libya's UN-recognised unity government in Tripoli has requested military support from Turkey, an agreement which Ankara will honour, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's top press aide said on Friday.

"Libya's government has requested Turkey's military support. As President Erdogan said, we will of course honour our agreement," Fahrettin Altun tweeted.

His comments come a day after Erdogan said the Turkish parliament would vote on January 8 or 9 on a motion to send troops to Libya in a bid to bolster the government in Tripoli against strongman Khalifa Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army.

"We're supporting the internationally recognized legitimate government in Libya. Outside powers must stop supporting illegitimate groups against the Libyan government," Altun wrote.

New reports have claimed that Russia has sent mercenaries to fight on Haftar's side -- which was denied by Moscow. The United Nations has also accused the strongman's forces of recruiting fighters from Sudan.

"As we support the Libyan government, we do not want Libya to be a war zone," Altun said.

"Those regional forces working to reestablish repressive regimes unaccountable to people are active in Libya. Their efforts to install client governments will not succeed."

Ankara signed a security and military cooperation deal with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in November.

Separately, it also inked a maritime jurisdiction agreement with the GNA -- which has drawn international criticism including from Greece.

That deal sets a maritime boundary between the two countries which Athens says does not take into account the island of Crete, at a time when regional players are vying to exploit gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.

"Our maritime agreement with Libya ensures that Turkey's freedom of movement in the high seas is not undermined," Altun tweeted.

"It also ensures a strong relationship with the Libyan government. We are committed to stability and peace both in Libya and in the Mediterranean."

(Published 28 December 2019, 03:55 IST)

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