Alwaght- Turkey reportedly plans to set up a military base in Libya to provide more support for the Tripoli-based unity Government of National Accord (GNA) in the wake of a military deal signed between the two sides last month.
Local media said Monday that military base will be establish in Tripoli, and that Ankara had already started to prepare and provide necessary equipment to the base in support of Libya’s internationally-recognized government led by Fayez al-Sarraj.
Turkish daily Yeni Shafak quoted military sources as saying that Ankara asked the Turkish armed forces to equip ships and warplanes in preparation for the transfer of Turkish forces to Libya.
The sources said that the transfer process to Tripoli has begun, with the ships transferring the drones, tanks, special forces and commando units.
Sources also revealed cargo planes and helicopters have been prepared and alerted to take off towards the GNA-held Misrata Airport.
The developments came a day after media reports said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with Sarraj in Istanbul, just days after the Turkish leader said he was ready to send troops into Libya upon Tripoli’s request.
During the previous meeting between the two men in Istanbul late last month, Ankara and Tripoli signed an expanded security and military accord as well as maritime jurisdiction.
The November military deal was introduced in the Turkish parliament on Saturday.
If the military agreement is approved by lawmakers, the GNA can request vehicles, equipment and weapons for use in army, navy and air operations. It also provisions for new intelligence sharing.
Since 2014, Libya has been divided between two rival governments: the House of Representatives based in the eastern city of Tobruk and the GNA.
Renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, who is commander-in-chief of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), supports the eastern government. In April, he launched an offensive to capture the capital Tripoli and oust the GNA.
Despite intense and deadly clashes between the two sides, Haftar has so far failed to achieve his objective and his offensive stalled outside the capital.
Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his execution by unruly fighters.
Sarraj’s government has been attempting to establish order ever since.