The Turkish parliament on Thursday approved the deployment of troops to Libya aimed at shoring up the UN-backed government in Tripoli, sparking a blunt warning from US President Donald Trump against any “foreign interference” in the war-torn nation.
Libya has been beset by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with rival administrations in the east and the west vying for power.
The beleaguered Tripoli government, headed by Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, has been under sustained attack since April last year by General Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by Turkey’s regional rivals — Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
In response to the prospect that Ankara might intervene after the vote, Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a telephone call “that foreign interference is complicating the situation in Libya,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
Egypt also strongly condemned the Turkish vote, saying that it amounted to a “flagrant violation of international law and [UN] Security Council resolutions on Libya,” while Israel, Cyprus and Greece denounced a “dangerous threat to regional stability.”
The Libyan parliament in the east — allied with Haftar — called Turkey’s prospective military intervention “high treason.”
Erdogan is due to receive Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday next week to inaugurate a new gas pipeline and Libya is expected to be a key topic of discussion.
Erdogan has repeatedly accused Russia of sending private mercenaries to support Haftar’s forces, although this has been denied by Moscow.
At the same time, Turkey and Russia have managed to work closely on the Syrian conflict, despite supporting opposing sides, and are expected to seek a similar balancing act with regards to Libya.
Erdogan’s office confirmed on Friday last week that a request for military support had been received from the Tripoli-based government of national accord.
No details have been given on the scale of the potential deployment and Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay told state news agency Anadolu that no date had been set.
“We are ready. Our armed forces and our defense ministry are ready,” he said, adding that parliamentary approval would be valid for a year.
He described the vote as a “political signal” aimed at deterring Haftar.
“The Libyan motion is important for the protection of the interests of our country, and for the peace and stability of the region,” Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted after the vote.
A UN report in November last year said that several nations were breaching the arms embargo on Libya in place since the overthrow of Qaddafi. Jordan and the United Arab Emirates regularly supply Haftar’s forces, it said, while Turkey supports the Tripoli-based government.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator