Turkey moved closer to military support for Libya’s internationally recognized government late on Saturday when a bilateral deal that provides for a quick reaction force if requested by Tripoli was sent to parliament.
Ankara’s latest move raises tensions in the Mediterranean region and risks confrontation with forces led by Khalifa Haftar based in eastern Libya, where rival political factions have been based since 2014.
Late last month, Ankara and Tripoli signed an expanded security and military accord and, separately, a memorandum on maritime boundaries that Greece said violates international law.
While the maritime accord has been sent to the United Nations for approval, the military deal has been presented to Turkey’s parliament. “Parliament will enter it into force after approval,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said yesterday.
According to the text of the military agreement sent to Turkish lawmakers, Tripoli could request vehicles, equipment and weapons for use in army, navy and air operations. It also provisions for new intelligence sharing.
Utku Cakirozer, lawmaker from Turkey’s main opposition CHP and a member of the NATO parliamentary assembly, said it was “worrying” that Erdogan raised the prospect of sending troops and taking sides in the Libyan conflict. “Turkey should not enter into a new adventure,” he told Reuters.