Turkey is sending troops to Libya to ensure the stability of the UN-backed government in Tripoli, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced.
The move comes ahead of a Berlin summit on the security situation in the country.
Ankara has already deployed forces to train troops loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA), as part of a security cooperation agreement between the two countries.
Erdogan also said that, as part of a maritime agreement, it would no longer be possible for other states to conduct oil exploration and drilling off the coast of Libya without the approval of Ankara and Tripoli.
Turkey has vowed to support the GNA’s months-long fight against Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar. Erdogan has vowed to teach “putschist” Haftar a “lesson” if he does not cease his military campaign against the UN-backed government. The commander left a Moscow summit aimed at brokering a ceasefire in Libya, stalling progress that had been made toward ending the conflict.
Erdogan said at the start of January that Turkish troops would begin a gradual deployment to the North African nation, in order to ensure “coordination and stability” in the war-torn country.
Despite the diplomatic setbacks, Ankara signaled that it was too early to say that a ceasefire deal with Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) had collapsed.
The Turkish president’s announcement comes before he is due to meet leaders from Germany, Russia, Britain and Italy on Sunday to discuss the conflict. The summit hosted by Moscow to discuss a possible ceasefire was hailed by major world actors as a necessary step toward achieving peace and stability in Libya.