Turkey’s Erdoğan discusses Libya, Idlib in phone call with Trump


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump discussed recent developments in war-torn Libya and the dangerous situation in Syria’s Idlib province in a phone call on Monday, a White House spokesman said on Twitter.

“The two leaders discussed the need to eliminate foreign interference and maintain the ceasefire in Libya,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a tweet.

Turkey earlier this month began deploying troops to Libya to prop up the U.N. recognised Tripoli government against a months-long offensive by a rival eastern-based faction that is receiving arms and mercenaries from foreign countries.

Turkey and Qatar support the Government of National Accord while the Libyan National Army has received support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The leaders of the warring factions attended peace talks earlier this month but did not reach a firm ceasefire deal.

Monday’s phone call followed a previous conversation about the Libyan war on Jan. 8, when Trump told Erdoğan that foreign interference in Libya complicates the situation.

The two leaders also discussed the humanitarian situation in Syria’s last rebel-held province of Idlib.

“The leaders agreed that the violence being carried out in Idlib, Syria must stop,” Deere said.

The Syrian regime’s campaign against rebel groups in the last opposition-held province in the country has driven hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians toward Turkey’s border.

Turkish troops stationed in Idlib as a part of a de-escalation deal signed in 2018 with Russia have also come under threat as the Syrian advance left a Turkish observation post near the Idlib town of Morek surrounded. Other Turkish observation posts established in the province have also reportedly come under fire in airstrikes.

“President Trump also highlighted the importance of Turkey and Greece resolving their disagreements in the eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

Turkey is at odds with Greece and Cyprus over potentially rich gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions have risen since Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding with the Libyan government in Tripoli on Nov. 27 that sees Turkey and Libya as maritime neighbours, ignoring Greece’s claim to territorial waters around several of its islands.



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