Turkey, Libya committed to East Med maritime agreement, says Erdoğan

Turkey and Libya are committed to a 2019 maritime demarcation accord in the eastern Mediterranean and Ankara’s support for the war-torn country prevented new massacres, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday.

Erdoğan made the remarks in a news conference following a meeting with Libya's interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

"Protecting Libya's sovereignty, territorial integrity, political unity, the welfare of Libyan people are Turkey's top goals," Erdoğan said.

Turkey’s support for the country’s U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) prevented forces loyal to Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar’s forces from overtaking capital Tripoli and carrying out massacres in the country, the Turkish president added.

Ankara throws its weight behind the GNA, bolstering the GNA-allied forces with Turkishdrones, armoured vehicles, military advisers and Syrian mercenaries against Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

In November 2019, Ankara and the Tripoli-based GNA signed a maritime agreement to establish an exclusive economic zone to legitimise Turkey’s claims to offshore gas and oil in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Erdoğan also expressed hope for support from the international community to the Libyan government ahead of the elections slated for this summer.

Erdoğan and Dbeibah on Monday also signed five agreements, including concerning the construction of electricity plants in Libya, Anadolu said.

According to the agreements, Turkish firm Rönesans Holding is set to  build three power plants, a passenger terminal for Tripoli International Airport, as well as a shopping centre in Libya,  according to the agency.

Moreover, Turkey and Libya agreed to take steps to facilitate the return of Turkish companies to complete stalled projects in the oil-rich North African nation, Erdoğan said.

The Turkish president also vowed to send 150,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Libya in a bid to support the country against the pandemic, according to Anadolu.