Turkish parliament drafting bill to authorize troop deployment to Libya
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 24 December 2019 7:05 PM
The Turkish parliament is considering authorizing troop deployment to war-torn Libya, where anti-government militias have seized a Turkish ship, Ankara has announced.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin made the announcement on Tuesday, less than a month after Ankara and the Tripoli government signed an expanded security and military cooperation accord, which irked a rival power base in Libya.
"There might be a need for an authorization in line with the developments over there. The parliament is conducting work on this issue," Kalin told a press conference in Ankara.
"We will continue to support the internationally-recognized Libyan government. This support may be in terms of military training, or other areas, such as political support," he added.
The Turkish parliament approved the bilateral the security accord on Saturday. The Libyan government had ratified the deal on Thursday.
But, for Turkey to deploy troops to Libya, a separate mandate is needed from the parliament.
Since 2014, Libya has been divided between two rival camps: one based in the eastern city of Tobruk, and the other – the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj – in the capital, Tripoli.
A renegade general, Khalifa Haftar, is the self-proclaimed commander of an array of militia groups acting as the "army" of the camp in the east.
In April, Haftar's forces launched an offensive to capture Tripoli, and on Saturday, they seized a Turkish ship.
Turkey is yet to directly address the seizure of its ship, but the decision to deploy troops to Libya could be a prelude to a conflagration with Hafar's forces. Previously, Ankara had warned against any aggression by those forces against its interests in Libya.
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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