‘Turkey invited by Libya’s legitimate administration’

The Turkish president accused some European and Arab countries of supporting eastern Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar and said Turkey has been invited by Libya's legitimate administration.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks came at a meeting of provincial heads at headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Turkey will lend all manner of support to the Tripoli administration which is fighting Haftar, Erdogan said.

"They are helping a war baron, we are responding to the invitation of Libya's legitimate government. That is the difference," he stressed.

About the military support deal Turkey and Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) signed on Nov. 27, Erdogan said a motion for military support to Libya will be submitted to the Turkish parliament when it opens after recess.

"We have signed the memorandum of understanding, and we are concluding the Military Security and Cooperation Agreement. I hope we will ratify it in our parliament on Jan. 8 or 9, and thus we will respond to [Libya's] invitation, he said.

Erdogan added: We go where we're invited, we don't go where we're not. Now, given that we have such an invitation, we will respond.

On Nov. 27, Ankara and Tripoli's GNA signed two separate agreements, one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Since the ouster of late leader Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the GNA in the capital Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

Erdogan said Turkey's aim is not to seize the right of anybody in the Mediterranean but to prevent the seizure of their own right.

"Because if we had not taken this step, a game to confine Turkey with its own coastlines in the Mediterranean would be cooked up. We could not sit back and watch these games to make it impossible for us to even cast a fishing pole in the sea, Erdogan said, underlining that the move was also in line with the international law and other similar practices in the world.

New Syrian refugee influx heading to Turkish border

Erdogan also briefed about Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria and said a total of 8,200 square kilometers (3,166 square miles) area was secured from terrorist threats since Operation Peace Spring was launched on Oct. 9 to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.

He said the attacks of Syrian regime in the northwestern Idlib province made permanent cease-fire impossible.

"Nearly 100,000 people fleeing these attacks have been moving towards our border," Erdogan said.

We said 'If enough support is not given for Turkey's efforts in Idlib, everyone will pay the price of its results.' The European countries should also share the responsibility to ensure peace in Idlib where almost 4 million people are living.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

Idlib falls within a de-escalation zone laid out in a deal between Turkey and Russia in late 2018. The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the zone.

Since then, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone as the cease-fire continues to be violated.

Over a million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border following intense attacks.

Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in over 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making Turkey the world's top refugee-hosting country.

Source: Anadolu Agency