Turkey stokes Libya crisis, to send troops

Turkey stokes Libya crisis, to send troops
Turkey stokes Libya crisis, to send troops

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Last month, Ankara signed two separate accords with the GNA.

Turkey will send troops to Libya at the request of Tripoli as soon as next month, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, putting the North African country's conflict at the centre of wider regional frictions.

Libya's internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) has been struggling to fend off General Khalifa Haftar's forces from eastern Libya.

It was unclear what specific invitation Erdogan was referring to as the interior minister in the Tripoli-based government, Fathi Bashagha, suggested in comments to reporters in Tunis that no official request had yet been made.

"If the situation escalates and then we have the right to defend Tripoli and its residents ... we will submit an official request to the Turkish government to support us militarily so we expel the ghost of mercenary forces," Bashagha said on Thursday.

Haftar's forces were not immediately available for comment. They have failed to reach the centre of Tripoli but have made small gains in recent weeks in some southern suburbs of the capital with the help of Russian and Sudanese fighters, diplomats say.

Last month, Ankara signed two separate accords with the GNA, led by Fayez Al Serraj, one on security and military cooperation and another on maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean.

For weeks Ankara has flagged the possibility of a military mission in Libya. - Reuters

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