Turkish Parliament Passes Libya Deployment Bill, but Troops Unlikely for Now
Turkey’s parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill that allows troops to be deployed in Libya, in a move that paves the way for further military cooperation between Ankara and Tripoli but is unlikely to put boots on the ground immediately.
President Tayyip Erdogan said last week Turkey would deploy troops in Libya to support Fayez al-Serraj’s internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
The GNA last month requested Turkish support as it fends off an offensive by General Khalifa Haftar’s forces, which are backed by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan.
Fighting and air strikes continue around Tripoli, where the U.N. refugee agency said three mortars had fallen on Thursday close to an overcrowded transit center housing around 1,000 migrants in the center of the city.
Turkey’s move comes after Ankara and the GNA signed two separate agreements in November: one on security and military cooperation and another on maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean, infuriating Greece, Israel, Egypt and Cyprus.
Almost immediately after the vote, Egypt strongly condemned the parliament’s decision, and called on the international community to urgently respond to the move.
The bill, opposed by all major opposition parties, passed with a 315-184 vote. Opposition parties said the move may exacerbate conflicts in Libya and endanger Turkish soldiers in the region and Turkey’s national security.
But Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the bill was an important step for protecting Ankara’s interests in North Africa and the Mediterranean, and for achieving peace and stability in Libya.
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