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Turkish Military Deployment to Libya Edges Closer After Erdogan Meeting With GNA Leader

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Turkish Military Deployment to Libya Edges Closer After Erdogan Meeting With GNA Leader

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On December 15th, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with the Prime Minister of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj, behind closed doors.

During their previous meeting in Istanbul on November 27th, the two countries made a deal on security and military cooperation, as well as maritime jurisdiction.

Following the closed doors meeting, Erdogan said that Turkey was ready to provide Tripoli any military support it needed after Ankara and Libya’s internationally recognized government signed the deal.

“We will be protecting the rights of Libya and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Erdogan said. “We are more than ready to give whatever support necessary to Libya.”

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

Khalifa Haftar, who leads forces in eastern Libya, “is not a legitimate leader … and is representative of an illegal structure,” Erdogan said after meeting in Istanbul with Fayez al-Sarraj.

The maritime deal was sent to the United Nations for approval, the military deal has been presented to Turkey’s Parliament.

On December 14th, the GNA leader had met in Doha with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

The meeting was also behind closer doors, but it should be expected that the GNA may officially request assistance from Turkey as soon as Turkish parliament passes the defense cooperation deal.

According to Anadolu Agency, the deal seeks “provide a ground for relations and develop cooperation” between Turkey and Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), the agreement includes increased cooperation in the exchange of personnel, materials, equipment, consultancy and experience between the two sides.

The agreement also offers Turkish support for the establishment of a Quick Reaction Force for police and military in Libya, as well as enhanced cooperation on intelligence and defense industry, among others.

On December 15th, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the military cooperation deal simply needed to pass in parliament and that it would happen soon.

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

Meanwhile, an alleged pilot from Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) was captured by GNA forces after his MiG-23 fighter jet was downed.

He said that Russia and the UAE were the principal supporters of the LNA. According to him, Russia planned tactics and UAE operated drones.

Amer Al-Jagam, who is an assistant commander of Haftar’s Air Force and commander of Al-Watiya airbase provided information about what Russia and the UAE were allegedly doing.

“Several Russians were killed and others were injured as they came under artillery shelling by Volcano of Rage Operation in Qasir Benghashir. While, a number of UAE officers were also killed in airstrikes by Volcano of Rage Operation warplanes on Al-Jufra airbase. Remaining UAE officers left the airbase afterwards.” Al-Jagam said, essentially giving the GNA forces a bit of advertisement.

He indicated that airstrikes on Tajoura, Misrata, Mitiga Airports, Zuwara and others were carried out by Emirati aircraft, saying the Air Force was tasked to pave the way for the ground troops to advance but the ground fighters always failed to advance.

“The pilot who carried out Furnaj airstrike that killed three children was a Libyan national and he took off from Al-Watiya airbase.” Al-Jagam said.

Notably, Egypt, which also supports the LNA isn’t mentioned at all, but that is also likely because Cairo is quite near Tripoli and a threat much more real than Russia and the UAE.

On December 15th, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said that al-Serraj’s GNA was being held hostage by “armed and terrorist militias.” Khalifa Haftar has also made the same claim, more than once.

“[The GNA] is not able to have a free and real will because they have been taken hostage by armed and terrorist militias there.”

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar on December 12th ordered his forces to advance on Tripoli for a “final battle,” to end the offensive that began in April 2019 and has been at a standstill for a while.

Over the December 15th weekend, heavy fighting raged for a 24-hour period between his troops and militias allied fighting for the GNA.

The LNA’s media office shared images of reinforcements arriving in Tripoli, including ground troops and pick-up trucks with mounted machine guns and of clashes in southern parts of the city.

The propaganda is on-going, as the LNA claimed to have taken control of al-Tawghaar, just south of Tripoli, while GNA denied the information.

It is likely that the LNA is feeling the urgency of the situation escalating out of control if Turkey is called in for military assistance and feels that “zero hour” has come.

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  • Mehmet Aslanak

    GNA is UN recognised government of Libya with support of US, EU, Turkey, etc but includes some jihadist fractions like al-Qaeda & ISIS, what a weird situation to understand.
    LNA is supported by Russia, Egypt & UAE.
    LNA’s head is a rascal general who is actually a secular, modern-islam dude like Egypt’s ruler Sisi.

    • Redadmiral

      True, But! Hafter was a fully fledged supporter of Qaddafi until he was captured in Chad leading Libyan troops in a failed attempt to overthrow the Yanki supported government. He subsequently got turned by the Yanks and went to live in the US where we can only presume he consumed plenty of Yanki propaganda and accepted Uncle Sam’s revenue stream until he returned to participate in the overthrow of his former boss. Since that time there has been a lot of different chair arrangements; a few years back it seemed that Qaddafi’s son was about to be proclaimed “Numero uno” some Yanki fracking took place, chairs were knocked all over the place, no one seemed to know who was supporting who and then it went to Yanki default setting, chaos. He stopped production of Libyan oil for a few weeks until his former paymasters in the Pentagon told him to turn it back on. Today we see this new line up. So maybe he has seen the light. I find Libya a bit confusing and can only conclude that Russia has a better handle on this than the rest. So I suppose Hafter it has to be…

      • John Wallace

        Yes my thoughts exactly . One is as bad as the other or which one is slightly better. From what it was to this chaos which I guess keeps some happy.

  • Andrei

    I think that Turkish president dosent understand what could go wrong.
    Libya is not Syria. They are thousands of miles away. Turkeys soldiers they will have the same fate as Saudi Arabia soldiers in Yemen
    Turkish soldiers if they will go to Libya they will be sent back in boxes…I really fell sorry for the families of Turkey’s soldiers.
    Erdogan is psychopath. He dosent care about life of the soldiers. He wants power..And he will kill anyone ho is staying in his way

  • S Melanson

    NATO Turkey prepared to assist Libya and no sacrifice will be too great when it comes to saving the Libyan people from evil Haftar whose name is appropriately similar to HP Lovecraft’s Elder Chaos God Hastur.

    Hastur threatens all that the Libyan people have gained in the past few years. The Libyan people have prospered thanks to the booming international slave, organ and mail order wives trade markets.

    Expanding into these lucrative markets was made possible by the previous assistance which the Libyan populace think fondly of, admiring the altruism of NATO and their sacrifice in bombing everything in sight.

    Now NATO Turkey is stepping up to the plate to help save Libya as an encore performance of the last intervention by NATO. Turkey expects nothing in return of course, except a small honorarium – and the honorarium (price of protection) is quite modest – being Libya’s total capitulation to Turkish demands for drilling rights in the Eastern Mediterranean which Erdogan knows in his heart, despite not having one, is what the Libyan people most desire.

    In what would be a major upset for the projected winner, the United States, Erdogan may just yet earn the highly coveted Nobel Prize for Atrocities…

    • Jakke1899

      Well, let’s not change the names of the main antagonists here! This conflict is already highly complicated as it is! ;-)
      So, if i understand it correctly, Russia and Turkey are again pitted against each other, just as in Syria? Yet they’re doing everything to stay chummy: Turkstream, sale of S-400, possible sale of S-57,…..
      I’m believe conflict is inherent with mankind, the world will never be without, it seems…

      Otherwise keep up the good work!!!

      “One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything’s fine today, that is our illusion”
      ― Voltaire

      • S Melanson

        Yes, there are plenty of others with their fingers in the Libyan ‘land of opportunity’ pie… hopefully the Libyan people will one day get their country back. If we dismiss the rubbish propaganda, Libya provided an example of what is possible when a nation is for the people and by the people.

        Yes, Voltaire spoke wisely and seeing things are not well is the necessary step to a better future. The truth is coming out and they will not be able to destroy all examples of what could be in tomorrow’s better world.

        Libya, Yemen, Syria and many others have suffered but not in vain. They are the beacons of that one day soon to come.