Turkish defense chief receives Libyan navy commander

Turkish defense chief receives Libyan navy commander

Turkish defense chief receives Libyan navy commander

Turkey's defense minister on Sept. 14 received the commander of Libya's naval forces in the capital Ankara, said the Turkish Defense Ministry.

According to a statement, in his meeting with Chief of Naval Staff Abdul Hakim Abu Hawliyeh, Hulusi Akar said Turkey stood by Libya's legitimate government, which is recognized by the U.N., to ensure peace and lasting stability in the North African country.

Akar reiterated that Ankara would continue its military and security training and consultancy efforts with Libya, with which Turkey has 500 years of common history and historical fraternal ties, the statement said.

"Libya belongs to Libyans," said Akar, stressing that Turkey supports an independent and sovereign Libya with territorial integrity and political unity.

Last November, Turkey and Libya signed a security and military cooperation agreement.

Libya has been torn by a civil war since the ouster of 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 UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj as the country's legitimate authority, as Tripoli battles warlord Khalifa Haftar's militias. Turkey also supports the legitimate government in Tripoli.

This March, the government launched Operation Peace Storm against Haftar to counter Haftar's attacks on the capital Tripoli, and recently liberated strategic locations, including Al-Watiya airbase and the city of Tarhuna, Haftar's final stronghold in western Libya.

MoU on Libya-Turkey cooperation approved 

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Turkey and Libya last month has been approved, the country’s Official Gazette announced on Sept. 15. 

According to the deal, both governments emphasized the importance of continuing the execution of development projects in Libya, taking into account the country’s stability and laying foundations for a genuine bilateral

Turkey and Libya signed the MoU to boost trade and economic relations on Aug. 13.

Top Turkish diplomat meets with Libyan vice premier

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Sept. 15 met with Libya's deputy prime minister.

Çavuşoğlu said on Twitter that he had a "productive meeting" with Ahmed Maiteeq.

“Will always stand by our Libyan brothers & sisters,” Çavuşoğlu added.

Tobruk-based gov't head hands in resignation after street protests   

The head of Libya's Tobruk-based government installed in the country's east has handed in his resignation following street protests against corruption and falling living standards that turned violent, his spokesman said on Sept. 14.

Abdallah al-Thani "submitted his resignation late Sunday at a meeting with parliament speaker Aguila Saleh", spokesman Ezzedine el-Faleh said in a statement received by AFP.    

Parliament spokesman Abdallah Bleheq said the resignation would be discussed at a meeting of the house, without giving a date.    

Demonstrations by hundreds of protesters that kicked off peacefully on Sept. 10 turned violent on Sept. 13 when the headquarters of the parallel eastern administration controlled by strongman Khalifa Haftar was set ablaze.    

The fire destroyed the main entrance to the building in Libya's second city of Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 revolution that toppled and killed longtime autocrat Moamer Kadhafi.    

Protests, which are rare in areas under Haftar's control, also erupted in another eastern town, Al-Marj, where police fired live rounds on Sept. 12 night after demonstrators forced their way into the police station.    

At least five people were wounded, according to witnesses and the town's hospital.    

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya on Sept. 14 expressed "grave concern regarding reports that one civilian was killed, three were injured, and a number of other demonstrators arrested" in Al-Marj.    

The casualties were the result of "the reported excessive use of force by eastern authorities against peaceful demonstrators," UNSMIL said in a statement.    

It called for an immediate investigation and "the speedy release of all those arbitrarily arrested and detained."    

The demonstrations across Libya have been "motivated by deep-seated frustrations about sustained poor living conditions, shortages of electricity and water, rampant corruption, misgovernance, and a lack of service provision throughout the country," UNSMIL said.