- The Turkish government now has to decide how many soldiers are going to Libya and when.
- Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj's government is fighting a bloody power struggle against Haftar's forces and the rival government based in eastern Libya.
- Haftar's forces, which he calls the Libyan National Army, have threatened to hit Turkish nationals and companies in Libya as well as Turkish ships off the Libyan coast.
Turkey’s parliament has approved the deployment of soldiers to Libya for one year. The Turkish soldiers are to support Libya’s internationally-recognized government, currently under pressure from General Khalifa Haftar’s forces. During Thursday’s vote, 325 MPs voted in favor and 184 against the move by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.
President Erdogan’s party, AKP, along with his allies in the right-wing party MHP, have a majority in parliament. All major opposition parties voted against the proposal. It is now up to the Turkish government to decide on the number of soldiers to be deployed to Libya and when to send the soldiers to the North African country.
Erdogan said last week that the government of Libya had asked Turkey to send soldiers to the country for reinforcement. In November, Turkey and Libya signed two agreements: a military pact and an agreement to share the Mediterranean between the two countries. Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj’s government is fighting a bloody power struggle against Haftar’s forces and the rival government based in eastern Libya.
Turkey’s vice president, Fuat Oktay, said on Wednesday that Turkey would consider not sending troops to Libya if Haftar ceases its offensive. Haftar’s forces, which he calls the Libyan National Army, have threatened to hit Turkish nationals and companies in Libya as well as Turkish ships off the Libyan coast. Haftar has support from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates. He claims he is keen on freeing Tripoli from armed groups, which he believes are more or less Islamist. His forces launched an offensive against the capital in April 2019, but they were halted in the suburbs.
From April to mid-December, more than 200 civilians were killed, and more than 128,000 displaced from their homes in Tripoli, UN figures show. In the longer term, the civil war has cost more than 8,000 victims. With his Libyan National Army (LNA), Haftar is trying to overthrow the internationally recognized government in Tripoli.
Foreign powers support both the Tripoli government and the Haftar LNA. In a voluminous UN report, published recently,, several countries are mentioned. They act in violation of the international embargo by supplying weapons, ammunition, military vehicles, and other equipment to the warring parties, according to the UN. Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan are particularly notorious. According to the report, these countries supply weapons to the warring parties.
Other countries are also contributing to the conflict, such as Italy, France, Qatar, and Russia. Besides, companies from different countries deliver military goods to the warring parties, and mercenary armies from neighboring Chad and Sudan are active in Libya. According to the UN, four of the five Sudanese mercenary armies are fighting alongside Haftar. Two of the four Chadian mercenary armies support the government in Tripoli, another Chadian contingent supports Haftar, and another supports both Haftar and the government.