Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent parliament a motion on Monday calling for an extension to troop deployment in Libya for another 18 months.
As in a previously approved presidential motion, the number of troops to serve and when or where they will be deployed are left completely to the discretion of President Erdoğan.
The latest presidential motion, which is as the previous ones in 2020 and 2021, states that “the so-called Libyan National Army, which has no place in the Libyan Political Agreement and is illegitimate both nationally and internationally level.
It was also pointed out that Turkey continues to provide training and consulting within the scope of a memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Libya on comprehensive security and military cooperation signed in 2019.
The motion’s view, that it is not yet possible to achieve a permanent ceasefire in Libya or to conclude the process of political dialogue.
Emphasizing that the risks and threats posed to the entire region, including Turkey, persist in Libya, Erdoğan claimed that if the attacks against the legitimate government resume, Turkey’s interests both in the Mediterranean and in North Africa would be adversely affected.
In the concluding paragraph, the Turkish president requests the approval of parliament to send Turkish troops to foreign countries for operations and interventions in order to effectively protect Turkey’s interests and to help pursue a dynamic policy so as to to avoid facing a situation that can’t be remedied, adding that the scope of operations, number of troops and time deployed will be determined by him.
Human rights activists say the use of the word “countries” instead of “Libya” as the country to which troops will be sent allows Erdoğan to send troops to any destination he deems necessary, on the grounds of protecting Turkey’s interests.
For instance, Erdoğan may take action against another country within the scope of the new motion, claiming that there is a violation in the eastern Mediterranean regarding the implementation of the Turkey-Libya Maritime Boundary Delimitation Agreement signed in 2019, which is not recognized by any Mediterranean country.
Erdoğan said last week that Greece had militarized some islands in the Aegean contrary to international agreements, saying Turkey could intervene and that he wasn’t joking.
Political observers believe that before the presidential election next year, Erdoğan wants to take advantage of creating some fake victories and rebuild the collapsed popularity and that a cross-border military operation against Kurds in Syria was brought to the agenda by Erdoğan last month for this purpose.
It is worth mentioning that there is no obstacle to the adoption of the bill, which is expected to soon be on parliament’s agenda since Erdoğan’s ruling party and its far-right partner, the Nationalist Movement Party, have the majority in the legislature.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party had previously voted against the motion, arguing that a UN peacekeeping force should be deployed in Libya and that Turkey should take part in this force.
The right-wing opposition İYİ (Good) Party also voted against it, claiming that being part of an “Arab civil war”, as in Syria, would not benefit Turkey.
Turkey’s support to Libya was generous, not only sending weapons, ammunition and drones, but also organized Syrian mercenaries to fight against the Libyan National Army.
It is no secret that, in addition to supporting the Libyan Government of National Accord close to Erdogan “ideologically”, the Turkish President covets Libyan wealth, repeatedly said that Libya’s oil and gas resources were important factors in Turkey’s interest.
The Erdoğan government has been criticized by international and regional organizations for committing regular and increasingly blatant violations of the UN arms embargo on Libya.
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