Turkey may increase troop presence in Libya

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Abdulhamid Dbeibeh, head of Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNU), discussed an option to increase the number of Turkish military personnel stationed in the north African country, pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Aawsat reported on Sunday.

The two leaders, in their meeting on Friday, agreed for the GNU to officially request an increase in the number of consultative and military personnel in Tripoli, and for a new group of Libyan security personnel to receive training in Turkey, Aawsat said.

Erdoğan said Turkey would continue to support the GNU on all levels, it said.

Turkey may be wanting to increase its military presence due to growing demand that it withdraw foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya before the elections, the newspaper said.

Ankara continued to bring in Syrian mercenaries to Libya, despite the 5+5 Joint Military Commission approving a plan for gradual withdrawal of foreign fighters and mercenaries from the country, it added.

Erdoğan on Monday said Turkey would not attend a conference on Libya to be organized in Paris. The Turkish president also said Turkey’s presence was legitimate and part of an agreement with the previous government.

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