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Turkish Parliament Readying Bill to Allow Sending Troops to Libya

Turkish Parliament Readying Bill to Allow Sending Troops to Libya

Tuesday, 24 December, 2019 - 18:15
A member of Libya's GNA carries a weapon in Ain Zara, Tripoli. (Reuters)

Turkey may need to draft a bill to allow for troop deployment to Libya and its parliament is working on the issue, Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Tuesday, after Ankara signed a military cooperation agreement with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) last month.

“There might be a need for an authorization in line with the developments over there. The parliament is conducting work on this issue,” Kalin told a news conference in Ankara.

“We will continue to support the GNA. This support may be in terms of military training, or other areas, such as political support,” Kalin said.

Turkey backs the GNA and has said it could deploy troops there if it receives such a request. The GNA has been fighting off a months-long offensive by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army based in the east of the country.

Speaking in Ankara after a cabinet meeting, Kalin added that Turkey would continue to provide the necessary support to Fayez al-Sarraj’s GNA. Turkey has already sent military supplies to the Sarraj’s government despite a United Nations arms embargo, according to a report by UN experts seen by Reuters last month.

Ankara says the GNA has not yet asked Turkey to deploy troops to Libya. However, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey would increase its military support to Libya if necessary and would evaluate ground, air and marine options.

Last week, Russia said it was very concerned about Turkey’s potential troop deployment in Libya, adding that the military accord between the two countries raised questions. A Turkish delegation traveled to Moscow on Monday to discuss developments in Libya and Syria.

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