Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that he is sending military personnel to Libya to train the forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord.
Erdogan announced the move on Friday, days after he apparently backed off on an earlier promise to deploy ground troops to the war-torn African country. The Turkish leader told journalists on Monday that a group of military “advisers” had been sent to Libya in the troops’ stead.
The Turkish personnel will train the forces of Fayez al-Sarraj, who heads the Tripoli-based and UN-backed Government of National Accord. The GNA has been engaged in a prolonged conflict with the Tobruk-based Libyan National Army, led by General Khalifa Haftar.
Speaking in a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “We are determined not to leave Libyan brothers alone during these difficult days.”
“Supporting Libya’s Government of National Accord [GNA] is not an option, but an obligation pursuant to the UN Resolution 2259.
“Turkey and Germany are giving priority to the solution of problems through dialogue, urging the sides common sense and sanity,” he added.
Merkel said: “Fragile cease-fire in Libya must be turned into a permanent one”.
“Articles agreed at Berlin summit on Libya will be approved by the UN Security Council,” she added.
On Jan. 12, parties in Libya announced a cease-fire in response to a joint call by the leaders of Turkey and Russia. But talks for a permanent cease-fire ended without an agreement after renegade commander Khalifa Haftar left Moscow without signing the deal.
On Sunday, Haftar accepted terms in Berlin to designate members to a UN-proposed military commission with five members from each side to monitor the implementation of the cease-fire.
Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.
Haftar’s military offensive against the GNA has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people since April last year.