Turkish defense minister, military chief visit Libya
Turkey's National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler on Friday met with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
"I would like to convey our President Erdoğan's regards. He stated that we would do whatever it takes to make everything much better," Akar said.
Sarraj also expressed his pleasure at hosting Akar and Güler in Libya.
The Libyan prime minister's office said in a statement that both countries are seeking to improve bilateral relations and military cooperation.
The Turkish officials also met with Khalid Al-Mishri, president of the Supreme Council of State.
"We had very sincere, very constructive talks. We say Libya belongs to Libyans. Our wish for Libyan brothers is that they get rid of their troubles as soon as possible," Akar told reporters after the meeting.
Akar and Güler also visited the Defense Security Cooperation and Training Assistance Advisory Command, which was created within the scope of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Turkey and Libya.
The two met with Turkish and Libyan soldiers, including Osama al-Juwaili, the commander of the Operation Peace Storm.
Akar reiterated Turkey's support for Libyan people to ensure they live "comfortably, happier and more confidently."
"I want you to know that we are with you today and tomorrow, and will do whatever it requires for our Libyan brothers under the instructions of our president," Akar said.
On Nov. 27, 2019, Ankara and Tripoli signed two MoUs; one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The maritime pact asserted Turkey's rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling by the Greek Cypriot administration, clarifying that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area. It went into effect on Dec. 8.
Following the military cooperation deal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara may consider sending troops to Libya if the UN-recognized Tripoli government made such a request.
Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The country's new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to a military offensive by warlord Khalifa Haftar's forces.
The UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Sarraj as the country's legitimate authority, as Tripoli has battled Haftar's militias since April 2019, a conflict that has taken over 1,000 lives.
In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital and recently retook strategic locations, including Al-Watiya airbase and the strategic city of Tarhuna.