‘Turkey to act if Libya greenlights troop deployment’

Turkey is ready to take necessary steps if the UN-recognized government of Libya makes a request, Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Saturday, referring to the deployment of Turkish soldiers in Libya.

If our Libyan brothers make such a request, Turkey is ready to do what is necessary, Oktay said, speaking at a trade and cooperation meeting held in Istanbul.

On Nov. 27, Ankara and Tripoli reached two separate memorandums of understanding, one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Following the military cooperation deal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara might consider sending troops to Libya if the Tripoli government made such a request.

Oktay said Turkey is facing "pressure and intimidation attempts" at many fronts, including from the EU, due to hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Ankara would continue to protect the rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean where tension has risen following the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves worth billions of dollars, he added.

"The whole world should know that no power can intimidate us from pursuing our righteous cause."

Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with two drilling vessels.

Ankara has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus's annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.

Fight against terror

"Despite all sanction threats, we have inflicted heavy blows to terror in the region with the operations Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch and Peace Spring," Oktay said.

"The plans made and scenarios written in the region without inclusion of Turkey are being broken one-by-one by Turkey's straight stance for the truth," Oktay said.

The latest operation east of the Euphrates River aims to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.

Source: Anadolu Agency