Turkish Military Plane Lands in West Libya

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On Tuesday, the global air traffic website, Flightradar24 tracked a Turkish military cargo plane to Al-Watiya military base, western Libya.

The website noted that the C130 plane came from a military base in Ankara, with unknown cargo on board.

In September, a Turkish military Airbus A400M arrived at Al-Rutba Air Base, coming from Turkey. Meanwhile, another C130 aircraft also landed at Al-Watiya Air Base, coming from a Turkish military base, according to data published by Flightradar24.

Turkey continues to send military aircraft to Libya, with more than 10 planes landing at the Uqba bin Nafi Airbase in the Watiya region, in western Libya.

Ankara signed a memorandum of understanding on security and military cooperation in November 2019 with Libya’s former Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj.

In June, the Turkish Parliament approved a motion to extend the mission of the Turkish troops in Libya for additional 18 months.

The memorandum signed by Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan 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.”

Earlier this month, Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar claimed that the presence of the Turkish military in Libya “is not as a foreign power.” This came during a meeting with the Prime Minister of Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba in Tripoli.

Akar explained that “Turkish-Libyan relations are based on historical and cultural roots that extend back 500 years, and that Libya’s territorial integrity, independence, and stability are important to Turkey.”

He pointed to the importance of the memorandum of understanding signed between Turkey and Libya in 2019. He claimed that the Turkish armed forces present in Libya are not a foreign power, “but rather are elements of a friendly and brotherly country to Libya.”

Akar added that they would continue their military training in five centers in Libya. He noted that Ankara is “ready to provide everything necessary to prevent the resumption of conflicts and bloodshed in Libya.”

The minister claimed that “Turkey is the only country that has made sincere efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in Libya, without having any agendas.”

The UN estimates there are over 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries in Libya, helping both sides of the conflict.