On December 16th, Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Committee approved the agreement between Turkey and Libya on military cooperation.
Turkey’s special envoy to Libya Emrullah Isler said that the deal called for a halt to those who tried to ignore Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean.
“With this move, Turkey took the board in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey showed that it was a playmaker in the region,” Isler noted.
He added: “This is a step we have taken against the those who were unfair to Turkey.”
The deal will be signed into law after the entirety of Turkish’ parliament approves it.
Seeking to “provide a foundation for relations and develop cooperation” between Turkey and Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), the pact includes increased cooperation in the exchange of personnel, materials, equipment, consultancy, and experience between the two sides.
It also offers Turkish support for the establishment of a quick reaction force for the police and military in Libya, as well as enhanced cooperation on intelligence and the defense industry.
Furthermore, Turkey is reportedly planning to establish a military base in Libya. Ankara will build a base in Libya’s Tripoli after completing its expansion in Qatar, where around 5,000 troops have been stationed since the Saudi-led blockade on the Gulf state.
Turkish media reported that Turkey had already started to prepare and provide necessary equipment to support the government in Libya.
Anonymous military sources revealed to Yeni Shafak that the Libyan government had allegedly asked the Turkish armed forces to equip ships and warplanes in preparation for the transfer of Turkish forces to Libya.
The same military sources confirmed that the transfer process to the city of Tripoli has begun, and the ships that will transport the drones, tanks, special forces and commando units.
In addition, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu suggested that Turkey and Libya had agreed to coordinate their efforts in Libya, in order to avoid incidents.
The Turkish minister explained that “Russian President, Vladimir Putin suggested working jointly in Libya, and we agreed to that,” insisting that Libya is not a zone of competition between the two countries.
Despite the difference, since Turkey supports the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Russia supports Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), the two sides have a good relationship and would like to avoid incidents.
Meanwhile, the fighting on the ground in Libya is on-going with LNA forces advancing on Tripoli and GNA is attempting to defend the city.
Reports shows fighting in the early hours of December 17th over Al-Hadba, Salah Al-Din and Wadi Al-Rabi, with the GNA attempting to push back LNA forces on the road to the Tripoli airport.
The LNA is also deploying more equipment to Southern Tripoli.
All of this increased activity is a result of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s announcement that “zero hour” had come and initiated a final offensive on Tripoli, likely prompted by a sense of urgency due to Turkey’s announcement that it would potentially deploy troops in support of the GNA soon.
Header: Turkish Kirpi armoured vehicles in the port of Tripoli, Libya