TRIPOLI, Libya

Turkey’s defense minister on Monday held a trilateral meeting with his Qatari counterpart Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah and Libyan premier Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli.

Hulusi Akar, accompanied by Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler, visited the Libyan prime minister’s office for the meeting. Earlier, he visited the Defense Security Cooperation and Training Assistance Advisory Command that was established as part of a memorandum of understanding between Turkey and Libya.

The Turkish defense minister also held another trilateral meeting with his Qatari counterpart and Libya’s Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.

On Nov. 27, 2019, Ankara and Tripoli signed two MoUs; one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The maritime pact asserted Turkey’s rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling by the Greek Cypriot administration, clarifying that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area. It went into effect on Dec. 8.

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

Libya’s government, formed in 2015, in the wake of the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, has faced a number of challenges, including attacks by warlord Khalifa Haftar.

In recent months, however, it has turned the tide against Haftar’s forces.

Turkey supports the government based in the capital Tripoli and a non-military resolution of the crisis.

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