ANKARA, Turkey (TSWT) — Turkey’s parliament on Tuesday extended a mandate authorizing the deployment of Turkish troops to Libya for another 18 months.
The mandate was renewed with the votes of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party and its nationalist allies who hold a majority in parliament. An opposition party also voted in favor of the extension.
The mandate first came into force in January 2020 following a security and military agreement Turkey reached with the UN-backed Libyan administration in Tripoli, western Libya. It was later extended for 18 months in December 2020.
Erdogan called for the latest extension citing continued “political uncertainty” in Libya and “risks and threats” that could threaten Turkey’s interests in the Mediterranean and North Africa. The request said Turkish troops continued to provide military training and advice in the country.
Turkey’s support for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord has helped turn the tide of Libya’s war. Turkish military assistance – including advisers, equipment and intelligence – helped block a year-long military attempt to capture Tripoli by forces loyal to Khalifa Hifter, a Libyan commander who ruled the eastern half of the country .
Ankara is accused of sending thousands of Syrian mercenaries to Libya.
Turkey also signed a controversial maritime deal with the government in Tripoli at the time, giving it access to a disputed economic zone across the eastern Mediterranean. The deal added to tensions in Turkey’s dispute with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt over oil and gas drilling rights.
Libya descended into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.