December 20, 2019 - 17:34 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The UN-recognised Libyan government has agreed to activate a military cooperation agreement with Turkey, bringing closer the possible dispatch of Turkish advisory troops to help defend the capital, Tripoli, from an attack by forces supported by the United Arab Emirates and Russia.
The announcement by the Government of National Accord (GNA) followed high-level military meetings designed to assess the imminent threat to Tripoli posed by forces from eastern Libya under the command of the warlord Khalifa Haftar.
Turkey and Libya signed a military memorandum of understanding on 27 November that has already been presented to the Turkish parliament. It provides for Turkish troops to be sent to Libya at the request of the GNA, The Guardian reports.
The short GNA statement activating the memorandum is seen as equivalent to a request, but it seems unlikely Turkey would send troops in the near future since the size of any force would have to be agreed with the Turkish parliament. The GNA prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, met Turkish foreign and defence officials in Doha, Qatar, at the weekend to discuss the Libyan crisis.
Emrullah İşler, Turkey’s envoy to Libya, said no ground troops were foreseen at the moment and an initial decision would be taken by parliament on Saturday, December 21.
“If the legitimate government of Libya asks for help for military training or the formation of military institutions following the approval of the memorandum of understanding on Saturday, then they would be deployed like in Somalia or Qatar,” İşler said. “The waving of a Turkish flag there would give the necessary message to the other side.”