Libya conflict: Turkey to send deployment bill to parliament

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AFP

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Libya has been torn by violence and division since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011

Turkey is due to send a bill to parliament later on Monday to allow it to deploy troops in Libya, as the conflict there intensifies.

Turkey is allied with Libya’s UN-backed government, which is based in the capital, Tripoli.

The move, which comes earlier than expected, marks an acceleration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plans.

The Libyan government has been fighting an insurgency by forces under Gen Khalifa Haftar based in eastern Libya.

The forces of the warlord – who is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and others, including what is believed to be a force of Russian mercenaries – have been trying to capture the capital city.

The Tripoli-based government receives aid from Turkey, Qatar and Italy.

Last week, President Erdogan said his government would seek parliamentary approval to deploy troops to Libya after the Government of National Accord (GNA) requested support.

But it is not yet clear when the law will be voted on. It is expected to be passed as Mr Erdogan’s ruling party is thought to have enough support in parliament to have the motion approved.

The bill allows for the deployment of non-combatant troops, to act as advisers and trainers for the Tripoli government forces against Gen Haftar.

Mr Erdogan previously said Turkey was ready to send troops to Libya if such a request was made by the GNA.

France and Egypt have called for the “greatest restraint” by Libyan and international authorities to avoid escalating the conflict in Libya, a statement from President Emmanuel Macron’s office has said.

UN-sponsored talks on the conflict are set to be held in January in the German capital, Berlin, to try to end the fighting.

Last month, Turkey signed two agreements with the GNA, one on security and military co-operation, the other on maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean.

Critics say the deal would greatly extend Ankara’s territorial claims.

Renewed offensive

The fighting around Tripoli escalated in recent weeks after Gen Haftar declared a “final” and decisive battle for the capital.

In April, he launched a major attempt to seize the city – but his forces met resistance, and they have long been bogged down in Tripoli’s southern outskirts.

Turkey supports the GNA, supplying drones, weapons and trucks to boost its efforts in the ongoing conflict with Gen Haftar’s forces, which control most of the east and south of Libya.

Libya has been torn by violence and division since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011.

Since then, no authority has had full control and the country is extremely unstable.