Turkey to sit out Libya conference with attendance from Israel, Greece, Cyprus

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday said Turkey would not attend a Paris conference on Libya, in which Israel, Greece, and the Greek Cypriot administration are in attendance.

Erdoğan made the remarks to journalists on his return from the G-20 summit in Rome, the Independent Turkish reported.

“We cannot attend a Paris conference in which Greece, Israel and the Greek Cypriot administration are in participation,’’ the Turkish leader said he told his French counterpart  Emmanuel Macron during the summit.

Erdoğan also said he told Macron that Turkey’s presence in the war-torn country North African country was legitimate and part of an agreement with the Libyan government.

In Libya, Turkey is the main backer of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) against Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), which is supported by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. 

Turkey deployed military forces to Libya in January last year after the GNA requested assistance under a defence pact. Ankara has also provided Syrian mercenaries to prop up the GNA.

“Our soldiers there are instructors,” Erdoğan said on Sunday.

A ceasefire agreement signed in the country last October calls all foreign troops and mercenaries out of the country, while Turkey says the presence of its military forces were under a training agreement reached with the previous government.

The Paris conference on Libya is slated for November and looks to provide a final international boost for elections to take place in the war-battered country by the end of the year. The conference also aims to endorse the departure of foreign forces from Libya.

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