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Iran Press TV

Turkey plans to set up military base in Libya: Local media

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 17 December 2019 11:18 AM

Turkey is planning to establish a military base in Libya aimed at providing greater support for the Tripoli-based unity Government of National Accord (GNA) in the wake of a military deal signed between the two sides last month.

Local media reported Monday that the military base will be established in Tripoli, and that Ankara had already started to prepare and provide necessary equipment to the base in support of Libya's internationally-recognized government led by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Turkish daily Yeni Shafak quoted military sources as saying that Ankara had asked the armed forces to equip ships and warplanes in preparation for the transfer of Turkish forces to Libya.

The sources said that the transfer process to Tripoli have already begun, with ships transferring drones, tanks, special forces and commando units.

Sources also revealed cargo planes and helicopters have been prepared and alerted to take off towards the GNA-held Misrata Airport.

A day earlier, media reports suggested that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had held talks with Sarraj in Istanbul, just days after the Turkish leader said he was ready to send troops into Libya upon Tripoli's request.

During the previous meeting between the two men in Istanbul late last month, Ankara and Tripoli signed an accord on expanded security and military cooperation as well as delimitation of maritime jurisdiction.

The November military deal was introduced in the Turkish parliament on Saturday.

If the military agreement is approved by lawmakers, the GNA can request vehicles, equipment and weapons for use in army, navy and air operations. It also provisions for new intelligence sharing.

Since 2014, Libya has been divided between two rival governments: the House of Representatives based in the eastern city of Tobruk and the GNA.

Renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, who is commander-in-chief of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), supports the eastern government. In April, he launched an offensive to capture the capital Tripoli and oust the GNA.

Despite intense and deadly clashes between the two sides, Haftar has so far failed to achieve his objective and his offensive stalled outside the capital.

Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his execution by unruly fighters.

Sarraj's government has been attempting to establish order ever since.

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