Turkish troops begin duties alongside GNA forces in Libya – Yeni Şafak

Turkish forces have begun their duties on the field in war-torn Libya, Yeni Şafak newspaper reported on Tuesday citing troops loyal to the country’s U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday announced that Turkish troops had begun deploying to Libya in a bid to prop up the government in Tripoli. Erdoğan said Turkish soldiers were tasked with coordination at a command centre. 

Libya is split between the GNA in Tripoli, and the Tobruk government, led by General Khalifa Haftar, the de facto ruler of eastern Libya and head of the Libyan National Army (LNA). Haftar has led an assault to control Tripoli since April. 

The GNA has been struggling since April to repel the offensive by Haftar's eastern-based LNA, which is backed by countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Yeni Şafak quoted GNA Com. Nasir Ammar as saying Turkish forces had arrived and were fighting alongside forces loyal to the GNA. 

“I can’t give [information on] the number of troops. Turkey sent us radar and air defence systems, as well as experts. With these advanced weapons, we can hit any jet in the sky,’’ Ammar said. 

Meanwhile, video footage of what is claimed to be Turkish forces arriving in Libya has gone viral on Turkish social media.

The E.U. on Tuesday called on Turkey to stop its interference in Libya and for forces to agree to a ceasefire.

Turkey’s move to deploy troops to Libya comes after the two countries signed a maritime and military border agreement in November, angering EU members Greece and Cyprus, whose oil and drilling exploration would be limited under the deal.