Erdogan: Turkish troops started deploying to Libya

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. [Photo: Social Media]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoganhas said Ankara started moving military units to Libya to support the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, one of the two rival administrations in the North African country.

Sunday’s announcement comes days after Turkey’s parliament approved the deployment of troops in Libya after it received a request for military support from the GNA, headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.

The GNA’s request came as it fends off a months-long offensive by renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based forces, which have received support from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

“There will be an operation centre [in Libya], there will be a Turkish lieutenant general leading and they will be managing the situation over there. [Turkish soldiers] are gradually moving there right now,” Erdogan told  private broadcaster CNN Turk during an interview.

He said Turkey would not be deploying its own combat forces. “Right now, we will have different units serving as a combatant force,” he said, without giving details on who and how many the fighters would be, as well as where they would come from.

The president said Turkey’s objective was “not to fight”, but “to support the legitimate government and avoid a humanitarian tragedy”.

He said: “Our soldiers’ duty there is coordination. They will develop the operation centre there. Our soldiers are gradually going right now.”

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