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The UN-recognized government of Libya has asked Turkey to send its troops into the long-divided country, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. A motion to deploy them will be submitted to the Turkish parliament after recess.
Turkish troops will back the government of Fayez al-Serraj, which is based in the Libyan capital Tripoli, the Turkish president said on Thursday in a speech to the ruling AK Party. Serraj’s Government of National Accord is challenged by General Khalifa Haftar, who has a stronghold in the eastern city of Tobruk.
Turkey sends troops to where it gets invited. Since such an invitation has arrived, we will be taking corresponding steps.
The announcement comes after Erdogan’s visit to Tunisia on Wednesday, in which he said that he and President Kais Saied had agreed to launch a joint military mission to back Libya’s Serraj. The following day, the Turkish president said a motion to authorize the international deployment will be submitted to the Turkish parliament once it comes back from the recess next month. The authorization may be passed as soon as January 8 or 9.
Libya remains deeply fractured since the 2011 NATO intervention that backed militants trying to topple long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi. The uprising succeeded and cost the strongman his life, but left the country divided between various armed groups with various criminal and ideological agendas.
Haftar has made his name by fighting Islamist forces and has close ties with many leading governments, despite opposing the UN-backed government.