Erdoğan calls on Europe to support Turkey's moves in Libya
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on Europe to support its work in Libya, where it is providing military support to the internationally-recognized government, if it wants to end the conflict there.
Erdoğan made his remarks in a column published on the Politico website on Jan. 18, ahead of a summit in Berlin on Jan. 19 that will try to stabilize the country.
At the meeting, Germany and the United Nations will push rival Libyan camps fighting over the capital, Tripoli, to agree to a truce and monitoring mechanism as first steps toward peace, diplomats and a draft communique said.
Turkey supports the government of Fayez al-Serraj in Tripoli and describes Khalifa Haftar, who heads the eastern Libyan National Army (LNA), as a coup plotter.
“EU's potential failure to adequately support Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) would be a betrayal of its own core values, including democracy and human rights,” Erdoğan said.
"Moreover, Europe will encounter a fresh set of problems and threats if Libya's legitimate government were to fall," he added.
Erdoğan also said “obvious choice for Europe is to work with Turkey” as it is not much interested in providing military support to Libya.
“Keeping in mind that Europe is less interested in providing military support to Libya, the obvious choice is to work with Turkey, which has already promised military assistance,” Erdoğan wrote.
“We will train Libya’s security forces and help them combat terrorism, human trafficking and other serious threats against international security,” he added.
Germany is set to host a major peace conference on Libya that will seek a stronger commitment from regional actors for a cease-fire in the war-torn country to pave the way for a political solution.
Stressing that the EU needs to show the world that it is “a relevant actor in the international arena,” Erdoğan said: “The upcoming peace conference in Berlin is a very significant step toward that goal.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel invited leaders from Turkey, Russia, the U.S., China, France, the U.K. and other regional actors to a single-day conference in Berlin, amid a fragile cease-fire between Libya's internationally recognized government and forces loyal to Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar.
The summit will put pressure on Haftar and the LNA to halt a nine-month offensive against Tripoli after a week-long lull in fighting. But it will not try to broker power-sharing between the two sides, said diplomats briefed on preparations.
Haftar and Serraj are both due in Berlin - along with Erdoğan and the leaders of Russia, Egypt and other Western and Arab powers. Libya has been in turmoil since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Erdoğan said that if Libya’s legitimate government were to fall Islamist militant groups such as Islamic State and Al Qaeda “will find a fertile ground to get back on their feet”.