Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj discussed ways to strengthen a maritime deal between the countries during a meeting in Istanbul on Sunday.
The agreement, signed in November, has constituted a key launchpad for Erdogan’s push this year to claim Turkish sovereignty over vast swathes of the eastern Mediterranean. The initiative has sparked political and military tensions with neighbouring Greece, as well as with France and other regional powers.
“During the meeting, issues that would strengthen the cooperation implemented within the framework of the memorandum of understandings signed by Turkey with the legitimate government in Libya and steps to protect the rights of Turkey and Libya in the eastern Mediterranean were evaluated,” Turkey’s Directorate of Communications said in a statement.
Erdoğan said Turkey would remain in solidarity with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in its attempts to unify Libya. Ankara’s priority was to ensure the stability of the war-torn country by protecting its political unity and territorial integrity, according to the statement.
Turkey’s military support for Sarraj has been critical to helping the GNA in pushing back a 14-month campaign to capture the capital city of Tripoli by rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, among others..