Turkey key actor for peace in Libya, says Erdoğan

Turkish President and leader of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the crowd during his party's parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) in Ankara, on October 02, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Turkey has been a key actor to achieve peace in war-torn Libya with its moves in the field and in the diplomatic arena, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

“Turkey has been key for peace in Libya with its struggle both in the field and in diplomacy. Calm in Libya was achieved with the ceasefire call we made with Mr. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin on Jan. 8. These efforts laid the necessary ground for the organization of Berlin summit,” Erdoğan said at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport.

The president’s remarks came before his departure to the German capital of Berlin, where the key players in Libya will gather to find a solution to the long-lasting crisis in the North African country.

Chancellor Angela Merkel invited leaders from 12 countries as well as the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League to Jan. 19’s summit at the chancellery in Berlin.

Aside from Erdoğan and Russia’s Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Other countries invited are the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria, China and the Republic of Congo.

Libya’s two main rival leaders: Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Tobruk-based military commander Khalifa Haftar were also invited to the summit.

“Our country’s determined approach has a big role in curbing putschist Haftar and his supporters. With these steps, [Turkey] has protected the future of Libya in addition to guaranteeing its rights in the Mediterranean,” Erdoğan said during his speech.

Ankara is seeing the Berlin summit as an important step towards a ceasefire and a political solution in Libya, the president said.

“Hopes that flourish again with the ceasefire and Berlin summit should not be sacrificed to the ambitions of blood and chaos merchants,” he added.

Erdoğan also said that Greece is “disturbed” because of not being invited to the Libya summit. He added that the memoranda of understanding (MoU) signed between Turkey and Libya on Nov. 27, 2019, had already “drove Greece crazy.”

“After that, [Greece] said, ‘Who should we have a deal with?’ Of course, Haftar has no value. Sarraj is a recognized leader by the U.N. They invited Haftar to Greece. These have no value in our opinion,” he said.

Haftar on Jan. 17 visited Athens in a bid to counter Turkey’s support for his opponents, ahead of the weekend summit.

Erdoğan also slammed Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, saying his steps towards Turkey has not been “good.”

Hurriyet Daily News


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