Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed on January 5 that Turkish military units had started moving to Libya to support the Government of National Accord (GNA) and provide “stability.”
In an interview with CNN Turk, Erdogan said that several units will be deployed in Libya, but with no Turkish soldiers fighting. According to the Turkish President, senior Turkish military personnel will be coordinating operations in the Arab country. A headquarters for the Turkish Armed Forces will also be established there.
“Turkey and Libya could work with international companies to search for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean,” al-Arabia quoted the Turkish President as saying.
On January 3, Erdogan signed a bill allowing the deployment of Turkish troops in Libya. The bill was approved by the Turkish Grand National Assembly a day earlier, following four hours of discussions and negotiations.
The UN-recognized GNA is now facing a large-scale attack by the Libyan National Army (LNA), that’s backed by Egypt and the UAE. Pro-government forces are holding onto their positions in the country’s capital, Tripoli, and several towns in outskirt.
As Erdogan clarified that Turkish soldiers won’t be carrying out the fighting in Libya, this task will likely be pinned on Turkey’s Syrian proxies and private military contractors. Ankara has been deploying militants of the so-called Syrian National Army (SNA) in Libya since December 2019.
By intervening in Libya, Turkey likely hopes to secure the recent maritime agreement with the GNA, which grants its drilling vessels much freedom in eastern Mediterranean. The agreement’s biggest critics, Egypt and Greece, will likely try to act against the Turkish intervention in Libya.