Turkey to establish rapid deployment force in Libya - Sabah

Turkey is to establish a Libyan rapid deployment force as part of its efforts to support the internationally recognised the country’s Government of National Accord (GNA) in its fight against rebels based in the east of the country that are besieging the capital, journalist Yahya Bostan wrote for Daily Sabah on Sunday.

Libya is split between the GNA in Tripoli, recognised by the UN, and the Tobruk government, spearheaded by General Khalifa Haftar, the de facto ruler of eastern Libya. Haftar launched an assault to on Tripoli in April and fighting around the capital is ongoing.

Turkey struck two deals with the GNA last month, a maritime deal that redefines Turkey’s maritime borders in the Mediterranean and a security agreement that allows Turkey to transfer arms, provide troops, military training, technical support, joint exercises and intelligence sharing with the Tripoli-based government for three years.

"First of all, the agreement authorises the establishment of a Rapid Deployment Force, which has law enforcement and military responsibilities, to promote peace and stability in Libya," Bostan said.

Turkey is to provide training, consultation and military equipment to the force, he said.

Turkey’s increased support for the GNA could lead to an escalation of the conflict as main Haftar’s backers – Egypt, Gulf countries and Russia – step up their assistance to the eastern rebels.