Turkey’s President says he has started deploying troops to Libya

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends an interview with Reuters at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Turkey is already beginning to send its soldiers to Libya in support of the internationally recognized government in Tripoli. President Tayyip Erdogan made the announcement on Thursday, just a few days before leaders gather in Berlin to discuss the Libyan conflict.

TRIPOLI, LIBYA – APRIL 10: Libyan National Accord Government troops clash with eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s troops in Wadi al-Rabie area located at south of Tripoli./Getty Images

Last week, Turkey and Russia urged Libya’s warring parties to declare a ceasefire.

However, despite talks in Moscow aimed at halting Khalifa Haftar’s months-long campaign to seize the Libyan capital, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement when Haftar failed to sign a binding truce on Monday.

Turkey, which backs Fayez al-Serraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA), has previously said that it sent a training and cooperation team which is now active in Libya.

On Thursday, Erdogan said Turkey was starting the deployment of its troops to Libya and that it would use all its diplomatic and military means to ensure stability to its south.

“In order for the legitimate government in Libya to remain standing and for stability to be established, we are now sending our soldiers to this country,” Erdogan told an event in Ankara.

Erdogan warned on Tuesday that Turkey will not refrain from “teaching a lesson” to Haftar’s eastern Libyan forces if their attacks against the GNA continue.

The talks in Moscow were the latest attempt to stabilize Libya, which has been beset by turmoil since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

Germany will host a summit on Libya this Sunday involving the rival camps, their main foreign backers and representatives from the United Nations, the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Turkey and Italy.

Haftar and Serraj have also been invited, but it is unclear if they will be in attendance.

 

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