Erdogan says Turkey will increase military support to Libya if necessary

The comment comes after the two sides signed a military cooperation accord last month


Reuters December 22, 2019
The comment comes after the two sides signed a military cooperation accord last month. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ANKARA: Turkey will increase its military support to the internationally recognised government of Libya if necessary and it will evaluate ground, air and marine options, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, after the two sides signed a military cooperation accord last month.

Turkey backs Fayez al-Serraj's Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, which has been torn by factional conflict since 2011, and has already sent military supplies to the GNA despite a United Nations arms embargo, according to a report by UN experts seen by Reuters last month.

Turkey has also said it could deploy troops to Libya if the GNA makes such a request. The GNA has been fighting a months-long offensive by Khalifa Haftar's forces based in the east of the country.

Haftar's forces have received support from Russia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. "If necessary, we will increase the military aspect of our support to Libya, and evaluate all our options, from the ground, air and sea," Erdogan said at an event in the northern province of Kocaeli.

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Speaking before Erdogan, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey will stand by Libya's government until peace, stability and security are established in the country. Last month, Turkey and the GNA signed an agreement to boost military cooperation and a separate deal on maritime boundaries, which has enraged Greece.

Ankara and Athens have been at odds over hydrocarbon resources off the coast of the divided island of Cyprus. While Greece has said the accord violates international law, Turkey has rejected those accusations, saying it aims to protect its rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

On Sunday, Erdogan said Turkey will "absolutely" not turn back from its agreements with Libya. "Nobody should come to us with attempts to exclude us, trap us in our own shores or steal our economic interests," Erdogan said.

"We have no intention of starting conflicts with anyone for no reason, or robbing anyone of their rights," he said. "Those who oppose us have no sense of rights, law, justice, ethics or mercy," Erdogan said, referring to Greece, Israel and Egypt, who have opposed the maritime accord.

In a first reaction from the United States on the agreement, a senior US State Department official said the maritime accord was "unhelpful" and "provocative."

COMMENTS (1)

Honey Bees | 1 year ago | Reply Is America going to let Ukraine be the last country we over throw???? Russia saved Syria from American and NATO aggression... Russia and China saved Venezuela from American aggression.... Russia saved Turkey from America and the EU's aggression and now even Turkey is saving Libya from American's aggression... What is happing???? America during Obama and Bush was doing fine attacking small countries and overthrowing their governments, but have way through Obama's rain of world terror something happened.... Other countries started saving small countries from the terror of American led killing machine that makes a few families billionaires from war... Who will they support the ONE WORLD ORDER of open borders?????? How will the Rothschilds and Rockefellers ,Bush's and Soros control the world????????
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