Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director says Tripoli has asked for Ankara’s military aid, stressing his country’s commitment to agreements signed with the Libyan Government of National Accord (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.
“Libya’s government has requested Turkey’s military support. As President Erdogan said, we will of course honor our agreement. We are fully committed to protecting our mutual interests and establishing stability in the Mediterranean.”
The Turkish official further noted that the maritime deal reached between Turkey and Libya last month “ensures that Turkey’s freedom of movement in the high seas is not undermined.”
On November 27, Turkey and Libya signed the maritime accord which marks the boundary between the two countries in the energy-rich eastern Mediterranean close to the Greek island of Crete.
They also inked another agreement on expanding security and military cooperation. The accord granted Ankara the right to deploy troops to Libya if asked by Tripoli.
Speaking on Thursday, 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 Tripoli-based government against forces loyal to renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar.
“As we support the Libyan government, we do not want Libya to be a war zone. Those regional forces working to reestablish repressive regimes unaccountable to people are active in Libya. Their efforts to install client governments will not succeed,” Altun said.
Algeria holds security meeting as Turkey mulls Libya deployment
In another development on Thursday, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune chaired a rare meeting of the country’s top security body amid Turkey’s plan to deploy troops to Libya.
The Algerian High Security Council met and “discussed the situation in the region, particularly on the borders with Libya and Mali,” the president’s office said in a statement.
“It decided on a battery of measures to boost the protection of our borders and national territory, and to revitalize Algeria’s role on the international stage, particularly concerning these two issues,” it added without elaborating on those measures.
Libya cites tripartite alliance, Tunisia denies membership
Also on Thursday, Libya’s Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha said at a press conference in Tunis that a Turkish-Tunisian-Algerian alliance had been formed to support the Libyan government.
The Tunisian Presidency, however, dismissed joining the alliance and insisted that the country wanted to preserve its neutral stance on the Libya crisis without taking part in any coalitions.
“Rachida Ennaifer, designated Media in-Charge at the Tunisian Presidency, denies the press conference statement by Fathi Bashagha on Tunisia joining an alliance with Libya, Turkey and Algeria. She said the statement does not reflect the position of Tunisia,” the Libyan News Observatory tweeted.
Earlier this week, Erdogan met with his Tunisian counterpart Kais Saied during a surprise visit to the Tunisian capital to discuss developments in Libya.
Speaking at a joint news conference, Erdogan said they had exchanged views on ways to bring about a ceasefire in Libya and a return to political dialog.
Libya has been the scene of violence since 2011, when former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled after an uprising and a NATO military intervention.