Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) on Thursday approved the implementation of a military deal with Turkey, paving the way for a bigger role for Ankara in the conflict-hit country.
The GNA cabinet “unanimously approved the implementation of the memorandum of understanding on security and military cooperation between the GNA and the Turkish government signed on November 27,” a GNA statement said.
The GNA, which met in the presence of military officials, gave no further details about the terms of the agreement or the assistance Ankara could provide to pro-GNA forces facing an offensive by east Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
Libya has been riven by turmoil and division since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.
It has since been split between rival administrations in the east and the west vying for power.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on December 10 that Ankara was ready to send troops to Libya to support the GNA after the deal agreed on November 27 in Istanbul with GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj.
“If Libya makes such a request from us, we can send our personnel there, especially after striking the military security agreement,” he said.
According to the United Nations, Turkey has already supplied military equipment to forces loyal to the GNA, including tanks and drones.
Countries including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have thrown military and political weight behind Haftar, who launched an offensive in April to seize Tripoli from the GNA, which is openly supported by Turkey and Qatar.