Deals with Libya to provide strategic gains to Turkey in 2020: Erdoğan
Turkey will materialize the two strategic agreements signed with Libya on defense and security as well as on the delimitation of the maritime jurisdiction zones in the Mediterranean Sea in 2020, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, highlighting his government’s determination in backing the legitimate government in Tripoli.
“The Memorandum of Understanding on Security and Military Cooperation and the Memorandum of Understanding on Delimitation of the Maritime Jurisdiction Areas between Turkey and Libya brought about gains of great strategic importance for our country. These two memoranda have expanded and enhanced much further the process we had initiated via an agreement with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC),” President Erdoğan said in his New Year message on Dec. 31.
“The projects aimed at entirely excluding Turkey from the Mediterranean have thus been wholly thwarted with our recent steps,” Erdoğan said, referring to the initiatives by Greece, Greek Cyprus, Israel and Egypt for an expanded use of the hydrocarbon reserves of the Mediterranean basin.
The memorandum of understanding on the maritime jurisdiction areas with Libya is seen as a strategic move by Turkey as it strengthens its hands against the claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot government.
The baseline of this achievement is the survival of the Tripoli-based Government National Accord with whom Turkey signed off the maritime deal. The government has already submitted a motion to the Turkish Parliament to get a mandate for the deployment of the Turkish troops to Libya upon an invitation by the GNA.
“The full implementation of these agreements will be facilitated by the support we will lend to the legitimate Tripoli Government in Libya,” Erdoğan stressed.
Turkey clears northern Syria of terrorists
Recalling Turkey’s enduring fight against terrorism both inside and outside the country, President Erdoğan described the Operation Peace Spring that was launched on Oct. 9 as a demonstration of Turkey’s determination in the fight against terror.
“As you know, we had conducted Operation Euphrates Shield in the Jarabulus-Al Bab area in August 2016 and Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region in January 2018. As a result, we had cleared DAESH (ISIL) and PKK/YPG terrorists from an area of 4,000 square kilometers and had enabled the return home of 370,000 Syrian refugees. With Operation Peace Spring, we cleared terrorists from another area of nearly 4,300 square kilometers between Ras al-Ayn and Tell Abyad,” he said.
Akar: No tolerance for fait accompli
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has also underlined the impending mission for the Turkish troops in Libya through his New Year message.
The memoranda of understanding with Libya have decorated Turkey with important strategic gains for the protection of its rights in the eastern Mediterranean, Akar stressed, underlining that Turkey will never allow fait accompli in this region.
“As a guarantor country, we will continue to protect the rights of our Cypriot brothers as we do for our own rights in the framework of international law,” he stressed.