Erdogan says Turkey wants to strengthen relations with Libya

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers a televised address to the nation in Ankara, Turkey, July 10, 2020. Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey wants to strengthen the relations with the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) after a meeting with Fayez al-Sarraj, who plans to step down this month.

Al-Sarraj signed a military cooperation deal with Erdogan last year, an agreement which was crucial to turn the tide in favour of the GNA in a conflict against Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). 

The Presidency said Turkey will continue to stand in “full solidarity” with the GNA, and aims to strengthen ties and remains ready to provide all kinds of support.

Erdogan said Turkey was upset by Sarraj’s decision to resign. The GNA declared a ceasefire on Aug. 21 in the north African country’s conflict.

The military deal between Libya and Turkey was signed alongside a maritime demarcation agreement that emboldened Turkey to ramp up hydrocarbon exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, prompting an ongoing clash with Greece and Cyprus over territorial rights.