Defense minister visits Libya for engagement with Tripoli government: Erdoğan
The visit of the defense minister, along with the earlier visit of the navy commander to Libya, was realized “as part of a plan” the president told reporters.
Erdoğan noted that Akar will have talks in Libya upon the briefing of the Turkish Naval Forces Commander Adm. Adnan Özbal who met with the Libyan Army’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Sharif on July 1.
“After our visit to Qatar yesterday, my defense minister has gone there today. We hope that we will continue the process in Libya with a much closer marking with the work they will do there with this delegation. Because the work between us and the legitimate government in Libya must be carried out very seriously and decisively,” Erdoğan stated.
Elaborating on his visit to Qatar, Erdoğan said they primarily discussed Libya, along with issues about Syria, Iraq and Sudan.
Akar and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler visited Libya on July 3 to review the activities carried out under a memorandum of understanding between the two countries, a statement by the Defense Ministry said.
A military ceremony was held for the duo upon their arrival at the Mitiga International Airport in the capital Tripoli. Following the ceremony, Akar and Güler visited the Defense Security Cooperation and Training Assistance Advisory Command, which was created within the scope of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Turkey and internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya.
On Nov. 27, Ankara and Tripoli signed two MoUs, one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the eastern Mediterranean.
Following the military cooperation deal, Turkey has sent military officials to Libya for consultancy to the army of the GNA.
Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country’s new government was founded in 2015 under a U.N.-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by warlord Khalifa Haftar’s forces.
The U.N. recognizes the Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country’s legitimate authority, as Tripoli has battled Haftar’s militias since April 2019, a conflict that has taken over 1,000 lives.