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Erdogan says Turkey will increase military support to Libya if necessary

Turkey will increase its military support to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) if necessary, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday. (AFP/File)
Turkey will increase its military support to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) if necessary, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday. (AFP/File)
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22 Dec 2019 10:12:36 GMT9
22 Dec 2019 10:12:36 GMT9

ANKARA: Turkey will increase its military support to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) if necessary and it will evaluate ground, air and marine options, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

Turkey backs the government of Fayez Al-Serraj in Libya, which has been split into rival political and military factions since 2011. Ankara has said it could send troops to Libya if the Al-Serraj government makes such a request. The two countries also signed a maritime boundaries deal that has enraged Greece.

Speaking at an event in the northern province of Kocaeli, Erdogan said Turkey will "absolutely" not turn back from the two agreements it signed with Libya.

Meanwhile, Greece's foreign minister visited eastern Libya's Benghazi Sunday, meeting representatives of strongman Khalifa Haftar's administration amid tensions with Turkey following Ankara's recent maritime agreement with the GNA.

Nikos Dendias landed briefly at Benghazi airport where he met the head of Libya's parallel eastern government Abdullah Al-Thani and its foreign minister Abdulhadi Lahweej, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

Lahweej said they discussed the controversial maritime delimitation deal Ankara signed in November with Tripoli's UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), which expanded Turkey's claims over a large gas-rich area of the Mediterranean.

Athens says the deal between Ankara and the GNA violates international maritime law and the sovereign rights of Greece and other countries.

On December 10, Greece urged the United Nations to condemn the maritime jurisdiction deal as "disruptive" to regional peace and stability.

On Saturday, Ankara's parliament also approved a military agreement with the GNA, opening the way for more direct Turkish involvement in Libya's conflict.

Haftar in June ordered his forces to target Turkish interests in Libya.

On Saturday evening, Haftar's forces announced they had seized a Turkish freighter registered in Grenada off the coast of eastern Libya.

Dendias was headed to Egypt after his Libya visit, Greek media reported.

Reuters

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