Political scientists and former military officers supported Parliament's approval of the mandate which enables Turkish military forces to be deployed in Libya to back the country's U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
Speaking in a panel at the Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE) in Ankara, Hüseyin Bağcı, a professor at Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), said the mandate is crucial to keep Turkey at the table in any negotiations regarding Libya, emphasizing the legitimacy of the GNA over Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar.
"All recent moves against Tripoli-based GNA by Haftar intend to capture the capital and invalidate the agreement reached between Turkey and Libya. Therefore, regardless of political factions and the government's foreign policy mistakes in the past, the mandate should be supported by all parties," Bağcı said.
On Nov. 27, Turkey and the GNA signed two bilateral memorandums after a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Istanbul. The maritime deal enables Turkey to secure its rights in the Mediterranean while preventing any fait accompli maneuvers by other regional states.
Speaking on the military aspect of the agreement, retired Col. Mithat Işık, SDE's defense and security director, said that only a small number of Turkish special forces would provide security for GNA in its fight against Haftar's mercenaries.
"That would be enough to keep Haftar's forces away from the capital," Işık said, adding that a possible decision to send Turkish troops to Libya would also enhance Libyan public opinion in favor of Turkey.
Libya's U.N.-recognized GNA has been struggling against the aggression of a group that labels itself the Libyan National Army, led by Haftar. The Libyan warlord has been trying to capture the capital, Tripoli, for nine months with the aid of mercenaries from neighbor countries, including Sudan and Chad. Haftar's illegal attempts to grab power are being supported by the United Arab Emirates, France, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
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