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Erdogan Pledges Increased Military Support to GNA

Erdogan Pledges Increased Military Support to GNA

Sunday, 22 December, 2019 - 16:00
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacts during a Kuala Lumpur Summit roundtable session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia December 19, 2019. Malaysia Department of Information/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Turkey will increase its military support to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) if necessary and will evaluate ground, air, and marine options, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, after the two signed a military cooperation accord last month.


Turkey backs Fayez al-Serraj’s GNA in Libya, which has been torn by factional conflict since 2011, and has already sent it military supplies 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.


Speaking in the northern province of Kocaeli, Erdogan said Turkey had recently provided “very serious” support to the GNA, adding Libya was a country Turkey would support “with its life”.


“If necessary, we will increase the military aspect of our support to Libya, and evaluate all our options, from the ground, air and sea,” he said.


Last month, Turkey and the GNA signed an accord 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.


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