‘Turkey’s efforts for political solution in Libya’

Turkey's efforts both in Libya and Idlib aim to solve crisis through political means and bring peace and prosperity to the region, said Turkish defense minister on Wednesday.

Hulusi Akar received media representatives in Ankara.

Responding to a question over comments that "cease-fire in Libya is not possible," Akar said: We cannot say that, efforts for cease-fire will continue.

He underlined that Turkey and Libya were maritime neighbors and both countries shared brotherly relations with historical and cultural ties and Ankara administration would not remain silent to the developments there.

The minister went on to say that the Government of National Accord (GNA) was recognized by the UN and therefore Turkey took side with it.

Referring to Turkey's security memorandum with Libya's GNA, Akar said Turkish personnel in Libya trained soldiers, shared experience and assumed an advisory role.

"This [security memorandum] is related to military training and cooperation, we have such agreements with 77 countries in this context," he said.

He stressed that Turkey's role in Libya came after the GNA's letter of invitation and country's parliament ratified the bill on deployment on Jan. 2.

In response to a senior Haftar-affiliated Libyan politician's remarks regarding "end of the cease-fire", Akar said this comment did not correspond to the ground and operational realities.

"Our interlocutor in this [Libyan] context is Russians," he said, adding Turkish stance on the issue had principles and Ankara administration was waiting for a response by Moscow.

He also added that in Berlin conference, probably there would be a result for Libya.

On Jan. 12, the warring sides in the Libyan conflict announced a cease-fire in response to a call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and gathered Monday in Moscow to sign an agreement aimed at ending hostilities and starting a political dialogue.

Following talks in Moscow, head of the GNA Fayez al-Sarraj signed the cease-fire deal, but Haftar left early Tuesday without signing and asked for more time.

Aguila Saleh, the speaker of the pro-Haftar House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk, said "the cease-fire in Libya is over and the war will resume."

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the UAE, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.

S-400 row

In response to a question on the acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile system, he said the training process and installation still continued.

He noted that Turkey's rhetoric regarding the S-400 case was based on principles and Ankara administration has taken steps in line with its plan.

He added that Turkey fulfilled its commitments regarding F-35 fighter jet and the country produced 1,000 mechanical parts of the jet, adding Ankara also paid installments and had similar rights as other countries.

"If you ignore us, do not stand with us in results-based initiatives, it is our natural right to search for alternatives," he said, referring to the joint committee offered by Turkey to examine technical concerns on its procurement of S-400 system.

"As planners of this [national security], we have to defend and protect this country and nation. Thus, we need weapons, vehicles, equipment and ammunition," he said.

The defense minister also said the S-400 system was present in Syria while F-35s were in Israel, however, Turkey's acquisition of the system drew criticism.

Ties with NATO

Akar said Turkey fulfilled its responsibilities to NATO, providing financial and operational support as well as support to military exercises.

"NATO countries also have responsibilities to us," he said, adding Turkey openly called on them to remain committed to its responsibilities.

"What everyone must understand is that the Republic of Turkey is a sovereign and independent state," he said and noted that his country would act in line with its rights and interests.

Source: Anadolu Agency