ANKARA 

Those seeking a military solution in Libya will be frustrated, as only a political solution will work, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Tuesday in the West African country of Niger.

“The only solution in Libya is a political solution. We’ve been saying the same thing since the beginning,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a joint press conference alongside his Nigerien counterpart Kalla Ankourao in the capital Niamey.

“Up to today, those who preferred a military solution were defeated in the field and failed,” said Cavusoglu.

He added that those who turn their back on a political solution in Libya should know they do so in vain: “There is no other way.”

Since April 2019, Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar’s illegitimate forces have launched attacks on the capital Tripoli and other parts of northwestern Libya, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths, including civilian women and children.

However, the Libyan government has recently achieved significant victories, pushing Haftar’s forces out of Tripoli and the strategic city of Tarhuna.

Touching on the meeting with his Nigerien counterpart, Cavusoglu said that the two countries are ready to boost bilateral relations in various areas, including agriculture, mining, energy, industry, and trade.

Turkey will support Niger’s fight against terrorism as the agreements the two ministers reached today are based on this purpose, he added.

“We are pleased that the FETO-linked schools here were handed over to the Maarif Foundation. With the Maarif Foundation, our support for education in Niger will grow every day,” Cavusoglu added.

After defeating a 2016 coup attempt by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the Turkish government set up the Maarif Foundation to give responsible administration to overseas schools linked to FETO, which the terror group uses as a revenue stream.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

He added that Turkey will also provide training for Nigerien diplomats and healthcare workers.

Cavusoglu also congratulated Niger on the country’s election as a non-permanent member on the UN Security Council for a two-year term.

Following talks in Togo on Monday, Cavusoglu arrived in Niger — just south of Libya — on the second stop of his three-nation West African tour, to conclude with Equatorial Guinea.

Earlier today, he had talks with Nigerien President Issoufou Mahamadou, and later will meet with Brigi Rafini, the country’s prime minister.

Under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s leadership, Turkey has pursued an unprecedented outreach to Africa based on the principle of win-win.

As part of the country’s cooperation with Africa, the Turkish government has donated millions of dollars for infrastructure development on the continent and sponsored hundreds of African students.

Turkey’s presence is felt across the continent, where there are a number of Turkish organizations, including the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Maarif Foundation, and Yunus Emre Institute, among others.

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