ANKARA/TRIPOLI – The Turkish Armed Forces are fully prepared for their possible deployment in Libya as required, the country’s National Defense Ministry announced on Friday. The Turkish military is “ready to serve on order within and outside Turkey”, Defense Ministry Spokeswoman Nadide Sebnem Aktop told reporters in the capital Ankara, Anadolu news agency reported.
On Thursday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would “lend support” to the NATO-recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), which is fighting the Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, who is based in the east of the country.
In late November, Ankara and the Tripoli-based GNA signed two separate agreements, one on military cooperation and another on maritime boundaries of the countries in the eastern Mediterranean, with the aim of occupying the resources-reach Greek, Cypriot and Egyptian waters. Following the military deal, Erdogan stated that Turkey might consider sending troops to Libya if the GNA made such a request.
Since the NATO-backed ouster of Lybia’s late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the GNA in the capital Tripoli, which enjoys NATO support and recognition.
Erdogan’s communications director has also stated that GNA has asked for Ankara’s military “aid”, stressing his country’s commitment to agreements signed with the GNA. In a series of tweets on Friday, Fahrettin Altun reiterated Turkey’s support for Libya’s “internationally recognized legitimate government” and urged “outside powers” to stop supporting “illegitimate groups” in the North African country.