The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) will hold an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss the Libya mandate foreseeing the sending of Turkish troops to the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed a two-page resolution on Monday, stating that developments in Libya posed a threat to the region and asking for permission to deploy Turkish forces to foreign countries in order to intervene in conflicts outside the borders of Turkey for a period of one year.
The assembly headed by Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop will have only one item on the agenda, while political parties will have 20 minutes each to speak following the reading of the mandate.
Libya's U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) recently made a formal request for Turkish military support in the "air, ground and sea" to help fend off an offensive by Gen. Khalifa Haftar's forces, who are attempting to take control of the capital Tripoli. Turkey supports the U.N.-backed government against the militia and mercenaries of the latter self-proclaimed military chief.
“Libya’s Government of National Accord has asked Turkey for military support to combat threats toward Libya’s territorial integrity and stability that could affect the whole region, in the form of Daesh, al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations or illegal armed groups as well as illegal migration and human trafficking,” the mandate said. The statement added that Turkey aims to deliver humanitarian aid to Libya’s people and to protect and defend Turkey’s threatened interests.
"No matter who is involved, no plan in the region which excludes Turkey has any chance of success," Vice President Fuat Oktay said during an Anadolu Agency broadcast Wednesday. Responding to those asking what Turkey is doing in Cyprus and Libya, Oktay added that Turkey foiled the plans of others who were trying to exclude Ankara from the Mediterranean. "Through signing the maritime pact with Libya, Turkey foiled the plot to confine Turkey to land," he said.
Speaking on the parliament assembly on the Libya mandate to be held on Thursday, Oktay said: “We hope that it will receive approval. The mandate is valid for a year, and [troops] can be sent whenever needed in the number needed. If the content of the Libya mandate is examined, it authorizes everything from humanitarian aid to military support.” He added that this was a peace project embarked on in the name of peace in the region.
"We hope that there is no need for such an invitation – and that it will rather have a deterrent role so that the relevant parties will understand this message correctly," he stressed, referring to the GNA's request for help from Turkey.
Last month, Turkey's Parliament approved a security and military deal with Libya's GNA. The deal went into effect Tuesday, having been published in the state's Official Gazette. The deal allows Turkey to provide military training and equipment at the request of the Libyan government, which controls the capital, Tripoli, and some of the country's western regions.
"By sending out our drillships, the Fatih, Yavuz and Barbaros, Turkey has foiled plans by Greece and Southern Cyprus to exclude the Turkish community in northern Cyprus and ignore the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) by using the hydrocarbon resources of the region in a way that benefits their interests alone through agreements made with other Mediterranean neighbors such as Egypt, Lebanon and Israel," Oktay said, stating that Turkey would be ready to take risks if needed.
Since the ousting and death of longterm dictator, Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya; Turkey, Qatar and Italy having allied with Fayez al-Sarraj's government based in Tripoli, while France, Russia and a number of key Arab states, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia backing Haftar, who commands forces based in eastern Libya.
Libya mandate has political message
Stating that Turkey’s stance regarding the situation in Libya was clear, Oktay said, “Turkey has joint interests in protecting peace in both Libya and the region. We cannot allow for further instability here.”
The vice president elaborated that the Turkish army was ready to go to Libya whenever needed, adding that Turkey would share its views on Libya on every platform with high-level interlocutors. “Our president is communicating with both (Russian leader Vladimir) Putin and (U.S. President Donald) Trump, as well as with what we call the quadrilateral summit, with (U.K. Prime Minister Boris) Johnson, (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel and (French President Emmanuel) Macron,” Oktay said.