On Monday, the Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, received Chief of General Staff of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), Lieutenant General Muhammad Ali Al-Haddad, at his Ministry’s headquarters in Ankara.
The Turkish Chief of General Staff, General Yaşar Güler, also attended the meeting.
In a statement, the ministry’s media office said that Akar congratulated Al-Haddad on his appointment as Chief of General Staff during the meeting and exchanged views on the latest developments in Libya.
Akar also stressed the depth of friendship ties between Libya and Turkey, which extend to more than 500 years, vowing to continue providing military support to the Tripoli-based government.
The Turkish military chief said that his country will continue cooperation with GNA officials in order to maintain a unified, stable and sovereign Libya and achieve stability in the region.
Akar stressed that Turkey will continue its military and security training and consultation with Libya in accordance with the agreements signed with the Libyan government.
Turkey, and the GNA signed a maritime border demarcation agreement in 2019. This was rejected by a number of states, most notably Greece. Athens claims that this agreement violates 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 18,000 mercenaries to Libya, mostly from Syria. It is believed that around 350 child soldiers have fought alongside these mercenaries. Some 2,500 are Tunisian nationals, thought to belong to extremist groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. An estimated 6,700 mercenaries have since returned to Syria, after the end of their contracts. Turkey continues to train and transport more mercenaries to Libya.