Libya, Turkey welcomes approval of troop deployment

Libya, Turkey welcomes approval of troop deployment

TRIPOLI-Anadolu Agency
Libya, Turkey welcomes approval of troop deployment

Libya's High Council of State welcomed the passage of a motion by Turkey's parliament on sending troops to Libya.

The council's statement followed a request by the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) for help.

The council noted in its statement that the request for military assistance was in regard to the GNA's fight against foreign enemies and their militias who are supporting a putschist fighting against the legitimate government.

“Countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia and France support the war criminal [East Libya-based commander Khalifa] Haftar, who has killed and tortured our people and committed destruction. This prompted us to seek legitimate support from our Turkish friends in order to protect our people. We welcome the adoption of the motion in Turkey's parliament,” it said.

The statement also stressed that the situation in Libya caused by Haftar was met with sorrow in Turkey.

Libya's High Council of State is an executive and advisory body formed as part of the Libyan Political Agreement (Skhirat Agreement) signed on Dec. 17, 2015 in Skhirat, Morocco to end the civil war in the country under the guidance of the United Nations.

Libya rejects Arab League statement

GNA also criticized the Arab League over its statement referring to "foreign interference" in the country.

The statement by the league's General Secretariat that the intervention of non-Arab countries in Libya is unacceptable is a wrong assessment, said the country's Foreign Ministry.

"Is there any greater intervention than the Arab countries' airstrikes on the capital, Tripoli, to help illegal militants trying to take over and change the system of governance?" it said.

While noting that one of Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit's tasks is to try to resolve any dispute between Arab countries, the ministry noted there has been no attempt to stop the attacks on Tripoli.

"Military interventions of non-Arab countries against Arab lands are rejected by all Arab states," Gheit said on Jan. 1, according to a source from the General Secretariat.

Turkish officials welcome Libya troops motion

Meanwhile, the Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said that Turkey would continue to be strong in the field and at the table.

"The Libya troops deployment motion ratified in the Turkish Parliament is an important step taken in order to ensure peace and stability in Libya and to protect the interests of our country in North Africa and the Mediterranean," he wrote on Twitter.

Turkey's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter that the deal between Turkey and Libya is the best guarantee for regional security and stability.

"Our parliament authorized the deployment of our troops to Libya to help the Libyan government upon their official request. We are committed to the security of our Libyan brothers and sisters. We will oppose any attempts to sow discord among them for the interest of outsiders," he added.

He said some countries try to put "their narrow interests above international peace and security in the Mediterranean" and warned that any agreement excluding Libya's legitimate government will drag the country into further chaos.

"Turkey will work toward defending international law, achieving security and preserving peace in Libya & the Eastern Mediterranean. We will prevent any effort to exploit the conflict in the region. At the same time, we are also ready to cooperate on establishing stability!" he added.

The head of parliament's National Defense Committee, İsmet Yılmaz, stressed that the main aim of the motion is to ensure a ceasefire and stability in Libya.

"The motion will contribute to a ceasefire and will create an appropriate environment for a political solution," he added.

Ömer Çelik, a spokesman for Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AKP), said his country had a stance against invaders, showing its will both in the field and in diplomacy.

"Undoubtedly, we are the only country that acts in line with the rule of law in the Mediterranean equation," he added.

Turkey’s special envoy to Libya Emrullah İşler said Turkey, through its security and military cooperation agreement with Libya, will provide its support as much as possible for reforming security in the country.

Stance of opposition parties

Mustafa Destici, head of the opposition Grand Unity Party (BBP), said Turkey cannot ignore the developments in Libya.

"For Turkey, it is an important duty and responsibility to support the official government in Libya recognized by the UN," he added. 

Ünal Çeviköz, the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) deputy chair, said they oppose the motion.

"It is a motion of war that will send Turkish soldiers to fight in Libya," Çeviköz said.

The Turkish parliament on Jan. 2 ratified a motion authorizing the government to send troops to Libya.

A total of 509 lawmakers attended the ballot in the 600-seat parliament, with 325 voting in favor of the motion and 184 rejecting it.

Motion on troop deployment to Libya passes Turkish Parliament
Motion on troop deployment to Libya passes Turkish Parliament

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) backed the motion while the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and opposition Good (IYI) Party voted against it.

Russia concerned over Turkey's Libya motion

Meanwhile, Russia is concerned over a motion passed by Turkey's parliament authorizing the government to send troops to Libya, a Russian lawmaker

Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, told reporters that military intervention is certainly not the best option to resolve the crisis in Libya.

Stressing that Russia has always supported a diplomatic solution, Slutsky said seeking a peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis should be maintained through the efforts of the UN and international community.

A joint statement by Greece, Israel and Greek Cyprus

Turkey’s bill allowing troop deployment in Libya marks a dangerous escalation in the North African country’s civil war and severely threatens stability in the region, a joint statement by Greece, Israel and Greek Cyprus said late on Jan. 2.

“This decision constitutes a gross violation of the UNSC resolution...imposing an arms embargo in Libya and seriously undermines the international community’s efforts to find a peaceful, political solution to the Libyan conflict,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades said in the statement.