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Turkey extends Libya troop deployment for another 18 months

Turkey on Tuesday ratified to extend its troop deployment in Libya for another 18 months, as the North African country is still far from reaching a political solution to the decadelong crisis.

The motion was submitted by the Turkish Presidency in light of a request for military assistance by Libya’s U.N.-recognized government on June 13.

“Turkey continues its strong support for the protection of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political unity of Libya, the establishment of a permanent cease-fire in the country, and the efforts of political dialogue that will ensure national reconciliation…” the motion said.

“Political uncertainty … that arose after the failure to hold the elections scheduled for Dec. 24, 2021, in Libya jeopardizes the tranquility established on the ground … and poses a serious obstacle to achieving permanent stability,” it added.

The motion said the risks and threats emanating from Libya for the entire region, including Turkey, continue, adding that if the attacks against Libya’s legitimate government resume, Turkey’s interests both in the Mediterranean basin and in North Africa would be adversely affected.

Parliament first allowed the deployment of troops in Libya for one year in January 2020. The mandate was extended for another 18 months until July 2022.

Turkey and Libya have seen closer ties in recent years, especially after the signing of security and maritime boundary pacts in November 2019, along with Turkey’s aid to help the legitimate Libyan government push back putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s forces.

In the recent Libyan crisis, Turkey supported the U.N.-recognized legitimate government in Tripoli against the eastern-based illegitimate forces led by Haftar, who was backed by Egypt, France, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia. Turkey’s support for the Tripoli government was critical in repelling the Haftar forces’ offensive to capture the capital Tripoli and led to a period of stability resulting in the formation of the unity government.

In the current situation, Turkey suggests that an election reflecting the will of the Libyan people should be held for the establishment of a long-lasting and stable government in the country.

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