If a fair agreement cannot be reached in international talks, Turkey will support Libya’s legitimate Tripoli administration in taking control of the whole country, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday.
Speaking at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) group meeting in capital Ankara, Erdoğan said Turkey continues to side with Libya’s legitimate Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
Referring to the EU’s recent statement on Libya, Erdoğan also said the EU has no authority to make decisions on Libya.
The EU this week decided to launch a new naval and air mission in the Eastern Mediterranean to stop more weapons from reaching the warring factions in Libya.
Since the ouster of late ruler Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys U.N. and international recognition.
Putschist Gen. Haftar's eastern-based forces aim to capture the capital, Tripoli, through the backing of Egypt, the UAE, Russian mercenaries and some African troops. Turkey, meanwhile, backs Fayez al-Sarraj's internationally recognized GNA.
Touching upon the situation in the Mediterranean, Erdoğan said: “We have been shifting the balance in the Mediterranean in favor of our country since we signed the maritime deal with Libya. Thanks to our determined stance on the issue, the status we declared in the Mediterranean has started to be accepted by regional actors, including Greece.”
On Nov. 27, Turkey and Libya's Tripoli-based GNA signed a bilateral memorandum after a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and al-Sarraj in Istanbul. The deal enables Turkey to secure its rights in the Mediterranean while preventing any fait accompli maneuvers by other regional states.
The memorandum asserts Turkey's rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling attempts by the Greek Cypriot administration, clarifying that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to resources in the area.
Fellow regional actor, Greece, did not welcome the deal and even regarded it as a violation of its own rights, though international law deems otherwise. Athens later said it would expel its Libyan envoy Mohamed Younis AB Menfi from the country in response.