Turkey Moves Closer to Approving Security Deal with Libya’s GNA

Monday, 16 December, 2019 - 06:30
Ankara - Saeed Abdul Razek

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks on Sunday with head of Libya’s Government of National Accord, Fayez al-Sarraj as Ankara moved closer to approve the security pact signed between the two parties.

Ankara and the GNA signed last month a memorandum of understanding on military and security cooperation and another on the restriction of maritime jurisdiction, drawing criticism from the Libyan National Army, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Europe.

A statement from Sarraj’s office said his talks in Istanbul on Sunday tackled the latest developments in Libya and security and economic cooperation with Ankara.

Sarraj expressed his gratitude to Turkey for its opposition to the LNA operation against Tripoli.

Sarraj and Erdogan also tackled means to execute the security agreement.

On Saturday, the GNA leader had met in Doha with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

Separately, the Turkish parliament moved closer to approving the security deal with the GNA.

“Parliament will enter it into force after approval,” Cavusoglu said on Sunday.

It was unclear when a vote would take place in the parliament controlled by Erdogan’s ruling AK Party (AKP) and its nationalist MHP allies.

According to the text of the military agreement sent to Turkish lawmakers, Tripoli could request vehicles, equipment and weapons for use in army, navy and air operations. It also provisions for new intelligence sharing.

Utku Cakirozer, a lawmaker from Turkey’s main opposition CHP and a member of the NATO parliamentary assembly, said it was “worrying” that Erdogan raised the prospect of sending troops and taking sides in the Libyan conflict.

“Turkey should not enter into a new adventure,” he told Reuters. “The AKP government should immediately stop being a party to the war in Libya.”

Greece, which expelled the Libyan ambassador over the maritime boundary pact, has condemned the maritime accord and warned that Turkey is escalating tensions in the region.

“Turkey must choose if it will follow the road of self-isolation, continuing to play the role of trouble-maker in the region, or behave like a good neighbor henceforth,” Greece’s deputy foreign minister, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, told Sunday’s Ethnos newspaper.

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