Turkey to keep backing legitimate Libyan gov’t: Turkish president
“We are sending our troops to Libya to maintain the legitimate government and ensure stability,” he said, speaking at an annual evaluation meeting for 2019.
Turkey will continue to use all diplomatic and military means to ensure stability in its south, including in Libya, he added.
Turkey will start exploring for gas in the eastern Mediterranean this year, he stated, after signing a maritime deal with Libya. “We will start search and drilling activities as soon as possible in 2020 after issuing licenses for the areas,” he stated. Erdoğan added that Turkey’s seismic exploration vessel Oruç Reis would soon be deployed to this field.
“In the areas that remain between Turkey and Libya, it is now legally impossible for there to be exploration and drilling activities or a pipeline without the approval of both sides,” he said.
Turkey signed two memoranda of understanding in November with the head of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, a military pact and a maritime deal.
“They tried to implement a scenario to imprison our country in the Mediterranean Sea. We ended this game with the agreements we made with Turkish Cyprus and then with Libya,” he said.
Turkey is all set to reach new heights in 2020 by protecting its rights, especially in the eastern Mediterranean, Erdoğan said.
“Through strengthening production, export and employment rate and protecting our rights on the international front, especially in the Mediterranean region, we are opening doors of a new rising period,” the president emphasized.
He stressed that this year Turkey will demonstrate its historic achievements for its freedom and future regardless of the circumstances. Underlining that the attacks on Turkey have unprecedentedly increased in recent years, he said, Turkey will continue to frustrate those who expected it to surrender in 2019.
He added that Turkey completed 1,161 projects out of 1,451 in its 2019 action plan. Referring to the maritime traffic in Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait, Erdoğan underlined the importance of building a new canal.
“It is not possible to prevent maritime traffic in Bosphorus legally, economically and socially. The only solution is to build an alternative canal,” he added.