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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Turkey Extends Military Presence in West Libya for 18 Months

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On Tuesday, the Turkish Parliament approved a motion to extend the mission of Turkish troops in Libya for an additional 18 months.

The Turkish Presidency referred the memorandum to the Parliament last week. It was signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who indicated that “the efforts initiated by Libya after the events of February 2011, to build democratic institutions, were in vain due to armed conflicts that led to the emergence of a fragmented administrative structure in the country.”

It recalled the signing of the Skhirat Agreement in 2015 in Morocco, under the auspices of the United Nations. This was after nearly a year of negotiations between parties, in order to establish a ceasefire and preserve the country’s territorial integrity. The memorandum explained that the Government of National Accord (GNA), recognised by the United Nations, was formed under the Libyan Political Agreement.

The aim of sending Turkish forces to Libya “is to protect national interests within the framework of international law, and to take all necessary precautions against security risks emanating from illegal armed groups in Libya.”

“It is also to maintain security against other potential risks, such as mass migration, to provide humanitarian aid that the Libyan people need, and provide the necessary support to the legitimate government in Libya,” it added.

The memorandum claimed that Turkey sent its forces to Libya in accordance with Article 92 of the Turkish Constitution, on 02 January 2020. It called on the Turkish Parliament to approve the extension for 18 months, starting from 02 July 2022.

In December 2020, the Turkish Parliament approved the extension of its troops’ deployment in Libya for 18 months. Turkey’s presence in Libya is linked to its broader interests in the eastern Mediterranean, where it is searching for natural gas in disputed waters claimed by Cyprus and Greece.

Ankara struck an agreement with the GNA’s leadership in November 2019, that extended Turkey’s maritime claims in the Mediterranean in exchange for military support.

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