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Erdogan Claims Turkey Still Ready to Send Troops to Libya Amid Surprise Visit to Tunisia

© Sputnik / Sergei Guneev / Go to the mediabankThe president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the trilateral meeting between Turkey, Russia and Iran
The president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the trilateral meeting between Turkey, Russia and Iran - Sputnik International
On 21 December, the Turkish parliament ratified an agreement on military cooperation signed with Libya's Tripoli-based government. Erdogan has mentioned the possibility of sending Turkish troops to Libya if Tripoli makes a request.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan stated that Ankara is still ready to consider the possibility of sending troops to Libya if such a request is made by the Government of National Accord (GNA). The president arrived earlier in the day for a surprise visit to Tunisia for talks with his Tunisian counterpart.

"We have never been present in any other country without an invitation", he said during a press conference.

Last week, the Turkish parliament ratified a memorandum on military cooperation signed with the GNA in November. Earlier that week, the agreement was ratified by the GNA, meaning that it now has the opportunity to seek military aid from Ankara.

Turkey's Military Aid to GNA

Turkey has repeatedly vowed to stand by the UN-backed government in Tripoli and made good on its promise of military aid to protect GNA members, reports say.

According to media reports, Turkey has already sent soldiers, military advisers, and equipment to Tripoli.

Prior to this, Ankara and Tripoli in November signed a memorandum on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea, prompting an outcry from Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt. The chairman of the Tobruk-based Libyan parliament, Aguila Saleh Issa, decried the document, calling it illegal.

A fighter loyal to the internationally recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) fires a truck-mounted gun during clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar in the capital Tripoli's suburb of Ain Zara, on September 7, 2019. - Sputnik International
Turkish Troops, Snipers Fighting in Libya's GNA Ranks in Tripoli - LNA Military Source
​Libya has been going through a severe political crisis since a coup in 2011 toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi. Two rival administrations have since practically turned the oil-rich country into a duopoly, with the Libyan National Army (LNA) controlling the east and the GNA controlling the west. The country's south, however, has recently begun attracting runaway terrorists from Syria and Iraq.

The situation has escalated over the past several weeks as the LNA’s commander announced an offensive on the GNA-held capital of Tripoli. The city had already been a battleground for a similar attack in April, in which hundreds of people were killed and thousands more injured.

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