On Monday, Naval Commander of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Abdel Hakim Abu Huliya, held a meeting with Turkey’s Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar in Ankara.
Akar reiterated Turkish support for the GNA, in order to ensure peace, and lasting stability in Libya. He also vowed that the military and security training and consultancy efforts would continue.
“Libya belongs to Libyans,” said Akar. He stressed that Turkey supports an independent and sovereign Libya, with territorial integrity and political unity.
Turkey, and the GNA signed a maritime border demarcation agreement in 2019. This was rejected by a number of states, most notably Greece. Athens claimed that this agreement violated its continental shelf, off the island of Crete.
Libya has been torn by a civil war since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. It now has two rival authorities and a multitude of militias vying for control of the country. The GNA is based in Tripoli, while Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), is supported by the Libyan Parliament, based in the east.
Turkey is believed to have sent 17,420 Syrian mercenaries to Libya, including 350 under the age of 18. Some 2,500 are Tunisian nationals, thought to belong to extremist groups such as IS and Al-Qaeda. An estimated 6,700 mercenaries have since returned to Syria, after the end of their contracts and claiming their financial dues. Turkey continues to train and transport more mercenaries to Libya.