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SEPTEMBER 2020

Turkey May Not Send Troops to Libya If Fighting De-Escalates, Parliament to Vote on Deployment

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Turkey May Not Send Troops to Libya If Fighting De-Escalates, Parliament to Vote on Deployment

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Turkey may not send troops to Libya if the conflict deescalates, Turkish vice president said on January 1st.

The Turkish parliament is to debate the bill on whether to deploy troops in support of the US-assigned Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya on January 2nd.

“After the bill passed from the parliament…it might happen that we would see something different, a different stance and they would say “okay, we are withdrawing, dropping the offensive”,” Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said in an interview with Andalou news agency. “Then, why would we go there?”

Even if troops aren’t sent immediately, Oktay said that the motion authorizing the deployment would last for 1 year, so the possibility to send the troops would remain for a while following the vote.

“We hope that there is no need for such an invitation, it will have a deterrent role and the parties will understand this message correctly,” he stressed.

Once again reminding of the deals that Ankara signed with the GNA, he said that they had foiled a “plot to confine Turkey to land.”

“No matter who is involved, no plan in the region which excludes Turkey has any chance of success,” Oktay said.

Ankara already sent military supplies to the GNA despite a United Nations embargo, according to a U.N. report seen by Reuters, and has said it will continue to support it.

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) is still fighting for Tripoli and it has support from Egypt and UAE, as well as some speculation that Russian mercenaries are present there, but regardless Moscow does claim it supports the LNA.

On January 1st, following an emergency meeting of the Arab Council called by Egypt, Turkey said that regardless of what it concludes, Ankara’s course would not change.

The Arab League issued a statement saying that it opposes interference by Turkey in Libya.

Permanent representatives of the pan-Arab organisation, in a meeting at its Cairo headquarters requested by Egypt, passed a resolution “stressing the necessity to prevent interference that could contribute to facilitating the arrival of foreign extremists in Libya”.

They also expressed “serious concern over the military escalation further aggravating the situation in Libya and which threatens the security and stability of neighbouring countries and the entire region”.

Ankara, in response, said that it had long supported the GNA, and that the Arab League’s calls made no difference.

“We take note of the reference to the Libyan Political Agreement dated 2015 (Skhirat Agreement) and the emphasis on a political solution as the only way for sustaining stability in Libya in the declaration issued by the Council of the Arab League following the extraordinary session on Libya held on 31 December 2019 at the level of Permanent Representatives,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said.

“In this regard, we would like to remind that the letter and spirit of UN Security Council Resolution 2259, primarily, intend to support and strengthen the Government of National Accord as the sole legitimate representative of Libya and call upon all UN members to act in this manner.”

Aksoy stressed that a permanent and comprehensive political solution in Libya could be achieved by deterring those who would seek faits accomplis through military means.

“On the other hand, contrary to the Libyan Political Agreement and UNSC Resolution 2259, it is obvious that the Arab League has remained silent and failed to decisively support international legitimacy against the months-long, foreign supported military offensive against Tripoli, the capital city, by the so-called Libyan National Army,” he said.

“From the onset, Turkey has been underlining the necessity of an immediate and full ceasefire in order to reach a political solution in Libya. With this understanding, we are actively participating and contributing to the Berlin Process.”

The entire statement is entirely in the direction of recent Turkish propaganda by its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and other officials from the government.

Meanwhile, on the ground in Libya, the fight for Tripoli is on-going with both sides claiming to be reaching some sort of success, the LNA saying it’s capturing positions, the GNA – that it’s successfully deflecting attacks.

A video allegedly showing an LNA Mi-35 attacking GNA ground positions in Tripoli was released on January 1st.

Likely delivering something to the LNA, a Russian IL-76 flew out of Lattakia Air Base, Syria, likely towards Libya.

In presumed support of the GNA, spokesman for the Algerian Foreign Ministry said that the agreement signed between Libya and Turkey is a sovereign issue between the two countries and is not of Algeria’s concern.

Most recently, the GNA reported that its forces had repelled an attack by the LNA on the Airport Road in Tripoli, on December 31st. As a result, 12 armored vehicles were destroyed and 10 LNA fighters were killed.

According to a report, 25 LNA fighters were arrested by GNA forces.

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