Erdogan: Ankara Deployed Military Advisers, Trainers to Libya
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Turkey has only deployed military advisers and trainers in support of Fayez al-Sarraj's Government of National Accord (GNA), and has not yet sent any troops to Libya.
Erdogan added that Turkey will continue to support the political track in Libya, both on the field and at the negotiating table.
Erdogan said before the meeting of the parliamentary members of the ruling Justice and Development party, that Turkey had started to send forces to Tripoli to support Sarraj government and achieve stability.
Speaking to reporters traveling with him on the plane following the Berlin summit, Erdogan said that Turkey's efforts regarding Libya have brought balance to the process, adding that his country’s presence in Libya raises hopes for peace.
He underlined that compliance with a ceasefire in Libya brokered by Russia and Turkey will pave the way for a political solution.
The president indicated that the steps taken on Libya have achieved a balance in the political track, asserting that Ankara will continue to support this path, noting that commander of Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, did not sign the deal which is an indication of his will towards the crisis.
He pointed out that Turkey objected the EU’s participation as a coordinator instead of the United Nations.
Erdogan also told the reporters that during Berlin’s summit, “a leader told me that Mr. Mitsotakis [Greek Prime Minister] wants to thaw relations with Turkey… He both invites Haftar to Greece and also wants to better relations with us. Such nonsense.”
“This mistake should be corrected first. After that, a meeting between with him will be easy,” the President concluded.
Turkey noted that Berlin summit is an important opportunity for the cessation of hostilities in Libya and underlined that it will maintain its constructive and peaceful policy to this end.
“Berlin Summit is an important opportunity for the cessation of conflicts and a political solution in Libya,” said Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin.
Meanwhile, Erdogan said Somalia had invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas after Ankara signed a maritime delimitation agreement with GNA last November.
Turkey seeks to expand its influence in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. It has set up a military base in Somalia, where Turkish officers are training forces to rebuild the Somali army, and Turkish engineers are helping to build roads.
“There is an offer from Somalia. They are saying: ‘There is oil in our seas. You are carrying out these operations with Libya, but you can also do them here.’ This is very important for us,” said Erdogan, asserting “there will be steps that we will take in our operations there.”