Turkish president meets with senior Libyan officials in Ankara
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received senior Libyan officials in Ankara, the presidency said on Tuesday, weeks after Turkey decided to extend its military operations in the war-torn country.
Erdogan met Deputy Head of the Libyan Presidential Council Abdullah al-Lafi and Libya’s Speaker of the House of Representatives Aguila Saleh at his presidential complex.
"We discussed the political developments, and the views agreed on preserving the unity of Libya, expediting the holding of elections through the necessary legislation, through one strong government, and emphasising the exclusion of a military solution," al-Lafi wrote on Twitter.
التقينا اليوم في #أنقرة الرئيس رجب طيب أردوغان، بحضور رئيس مجلس النواب، المستشار عقيلة صالح. تناولنا التطورات السياسية، واتفقت وجهات النظر على الحفاظ على وحدة ليبيا، والإسراع في إجراء الانتخابات من خلال التشريعات اللازمة، عبر حكومة واحدة قوية، والتأكيد على استبعاد الحل العسكري. pic.twitter.com/w1KcvCuUPR— عبد الله اللاّفي Abdullah Al-Lafi (@ALafidpc) August 2, 2022
Oil-rich Libya remains mired in a constitutional and political stalemate that has sparked increasing clashes and a dire economic situation in the country.
Turkey has long provided military support and training to Libya's former internationally-recognised interim government.
On 21 June, Turkey ratified to extend its troop deployment in Libya for another 18 months as requested by the government earlier that month, according to Turkish media reports.
Elections were meant to take place last December, but failed to materialise.
UN Special Advisor on Libya Stephanie Williams said in July that holding elections remains "the only lasting solution that places Libya firmly on the path towards peace and stability".
The country has been split by a complex conflict with two rival administrations claiming to be the legitimate authority for the whole country.
In April 2019, east-based military commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive with the aim of capturing Tripoli, but his campaign collapsed after Turkey stepped up its military support for the former Government of National Accord (GNA), which resigned in 2020, with hundreds of troops and thousands of Syrian mercenaries.
Turkey has rebuffed calls from Western governments notably France, to withdraw its troops from Libya.