Turkey moved closer to military support for Libya’s internationally recognized government late on Saturday when a bilateral deal was sent to parliament that includes provisions for launching a “quick reaction force” if requested by Tripoli.
Late last month, Ankara and Tripoli signed an expanded security and military accord and, separately, a memorandum on maritime boundaries that Greece said violates international law.
While the maritime accord has been sent to the United Nations for approval, the military deal has been presented to Turkey’s parliament. “Parliament will enter it into force after approval,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday.
It was unclear when a vote would take place in the parliament controlled by President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party.
On Thursday, the head of the eastern-based Libyan National Army urged his forces to advance toward the center of Tripoli in what he said would be a “final battle,” after an offensive against the government that began in April but has stalled.
On Saturday, Cavusoglu said Libya had “not yet” asked for troop deployment, an option that Erdogan floated last week.
The agreement, which would allow Turkey to backstop Libya’s police and military, is Ankara’s latest move in the Eastern Mediterranean that has raised tensions with Greece and other nations.
Athens, which expelled the Libyan ambassador over the maritime boundary pact, has also condemned new Turkish gas exploration off the coast of the divided island of Cyprus.
According to the text of the agreement sent to Turkish lawmakers, Tripoli could request vehicles, equipment and weapons for use in army, navy and air operations. It also provisions for new intelligence sharing.
On Saturday in Doha, Cavusoglu met and discussed cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean with Fayez al-Sarraj, Prime Minister of Libya’s Government of National Accord.