President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Turkey is sending troops to Libya, weeks after the country’s parliament endorsed the move and days after a ceasefire deal between the warring parties collapsed.
Erdogan made the announcement during a speech to the Annual Evaluation Meeting for 2019 at the Bestepe National Congress and Culture Centre in Ankara.
He said his country will be sending troops to Libya under an agreement with the Government of National Accord. Erdogan added that Turkey will use both military and diplomatic means to ensure “stability” in Libya.
The president also noted that Ankara will start search and drill activities for gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean this year in line with the accord reached with the GNA and that the vessel Oruc Reis has already started seismic studies.
Ankara and the UN-backed Government of National Accord previously signed an agreement to deploy Turkish troops to the war-torn country. Turkey noted though that the deployment would only happen if General Haftar’s army continues its offensive.
Earlier the two main sides to the internal conflict in Libya, the UN-Backed Government of National Accord controlling the country’s east and the Libyan National Army led by General Khalifa Haftar failed to negotiate a ceasefire during talks in Moscow. While the GNA signed the negotiated ceasefire agreement, Haftar didn’t. He returned to Libya and announced the continuation of hostilities.
Turkish authorities earlier said that military deployments under the agreement struck with the GNA would only commence if General Haftar continues his offensive on the GNA’s capital, Tripoli.