Turkey Threatens to Launch 'Military Operations' in the Mediterranean

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Fayez al Sarraj, head of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) | (File photo: Presidential Press Office)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Fayez al Sarraj, head of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) | (File photo: Presidential Press Office)
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Turkey Threatens to Launch 'Military Operations' in the Mediterranean

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Fayez al Sarraj, head of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) | (File photo: Presidential Press Office)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Fayez al Sarraj, head of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) | (File photo: Presidential Press Office)

Turkish authorities threatened the use of force to “protect their interests” in the eastern Mediterranean region, praising the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), chaired by Fayez al-Sarraj, on the demarcation of the maritime borders in the Mediterranean region.

The spokesman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK), Omer Celik, said his country uses force to protect its national interests in the event there was a desire to establish a Turkish opposition organization anywhere.

Celik was referring to the trilateral agreement announced by Greece, Cyprus, and Israel on the gas pipeline to Europe during 2020, as well as the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum led by Egypt.

Speaking at AK’s Central Executive Board meeting, Celik noted that through the MoU signed with the GNA, Turkey has responded in a legal and diplomatic way to anyone trying to impose a specific policy and ignore its interests in the eastern Mediterranean.

He confirmed that the Turkish air force will continue to raise its flag in the eastern Mediterranean and that Ankara will only consider its national interests.

For his part, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said his country will stick to the memorandum it has concluded with Libya.

Oktay Turkey and Libya have the right to make joint decisions on maritime boundaries with their neighbors.

“When the stability of the region is at stake, we will make the necessary military cooperation and walk with our friends,” Oktay added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara was ready to increase its military support to Libya if necessary and would evaluate ground, air, and marine options.

On December 21, the Turkish Parliament approved an MoU on security and military cooperation with Sarraj government. It included cooperation in the areas of security and military training, defense industries, counter-terrorism, and illegal migration.

They are also cooperating on logistics and maps, military planning, transfer of expertise, and the establishment of a mutual defense and security cooperation office if requested.



Netanyahu Warns a Lebanon War Could be Next

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)
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Netanyahu Warns a Lebanon War Could be Next

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the current phase of fighting against Hamas in Gaza is winding down, setting the stage for Israel to send more troops to its northern border to confront Hezbollah.

The Israeli leader said in a lengthy TV interview that while the army is close to completing its current ground offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, that would not mean the war against Hamas is over. But he said fewer troops would be needed in Gaza, freeing up forces to battle Hezbollah.

“We will have the possibility of transferring some of our forces north, and we will do that,” he told Israel’s Channel 14, a pro-Netanyahu TV channel, in an interview that was frequently interrupted by applause from the studio audience. “First and foremost, for defense,” he added, but also to allow tens of thousands of displaced Israelis to return home.

Netanyahu said he hoped a diplomatic solution to the crisis could be found but vowed to solve the problem “in a different way” if needed. ″We can fight on several fronts and we are prepared to do that,” he said.
He said any deal would not just be “an agreement on paper.” He said it would require Hezbollah to be far from the border, an enforcement mechanism and the return of Israelis back to their homes. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated shortly after the fighting erupted and have not been able to go home.

Hezbollah has said it will continue battling Israel until a cease-fire is reached in Gaza. The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, warned Israel last week against launching a war, saying Hezbollah has new weapons and intelligence capabilities that could help it target more critical positions deeper inside Israel.