ANKARA: Turkey urged Libya to refrain from any steps that would lead to renewed conflict and called on authorities to follow democratic processes, amid a crisis over control of executive power in the country.
Libya’s political crisis has escalated since the collapse of a scheduled election in December that was planned as part of a peace process to reunify the country after years of chaos and war following a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.
Turkey has provided military support and training to Libya’s former internationally recognized Government of National Accord, and helped it fight off an assault lasting several months on the capital Tripoli by eastern Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar. It still has military personnel and Syrian militia fighters in Libya.
Ankara has supported the peace process but remained largely silent since the latest turmoil in Libya after the formation of two rival governments.
After an almost 4-hour meeting chaired by President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, Turkey’s National Security Council (MGK) said a “calm in Libya that was achieved through big sacrifices” was an opportunity for peace.
The MGK called on parties involved in Libya to “refrain from steps that could cause new clashes” and urged authorities in the country to “follow democratic processes on a basis of legitimacy for the achievement of lasting peace and stability.”
An interim Government of National Unity, which Ankara backs, was installed last year to oversee the run-up to elections and reunify divided state institutions.
When the elections collapsed, the House of Representatives parliament in the east, based in Tobruk, said that the government’s term had expired and it designated a new administration and set elections for next year.
However, the prime minister of the unity government said he would only relinquish power after elections, and armed forces backing each side have mobilized around Tripoli, raising fears of another conflict or a return to territorial division.
A date for a new election has not been set.